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Exploration of the Diversity, Genomes, and Symbioses of Protist Flagellates
In this presentation, I will first introduce the audience to this assemblage of organisms known as protists, which constitute the backbone of the eukaryotic tree of life. I will then describe several methods that are commonly used to study the protist diversity, which includes the traditional isolation and culture, environmental sequencing, and fluorescence in situ hybridization experiment. With the advancement in molecular sequencing technology, a growing number of scientists, myself included, have been sequencing the genomes and transcriptomes of evolutionarily and ecologically important protists. I will describe how this is done using a few genomes my group and colleagues have recently studied. Using a large-scale genetic data, aspects of evolutionary relationships amongst major eukaryote groups are getting demystified while challenges persist. Another growing area of interest in the research community is microbial symbioses, and sequence data are contributing to the discovery of previously unknown microbe-microbe associations.
The roles of gene transfer and symbiosis in the evolutionary adaptation of protists to low oxygen environments