Jämförande genomik hos värdpopulationer för studier av samutveckling med virus

Tidsperiod: 2019-01-01 till 2021-12-31

Projektledare: Patric Jern

Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

Bidragstyp: Projektbidrag

Budget: 2 400 000 SEK

The purpose of this project is to generate new knowledge about co-evolution among retroviruses and their hosts by studying natural variation in the endogenous retrovirus (ERV) record within and across host populations. Retroviruses must become part of the host’s nuclear DNA to produce new viruses. Occasional infections in germline over millions of years have transmitted retroviruses to the host’s offspring as inherited ERVs, which represent retroviruses at the time of infection and make up large fractions of host genomes today. Thus, ERVs provide a rare perspective on the biology and evolution of retrovirus-host interactions. Through recent molecular advances, ERV research is currently experiencing a massive interdisciplinary growth involving virology, genomics and evolution. The large collection of whole-genome sequences has made it possible to study ERV dynamics and deep evolutionary associations with their hosts. For these studies, we will develop computational methods and investigate to what extent the ERV record differs within and across host populations. We will also evaluate how representative single reference host genomes are to whole genomes from host populations for studies of virus-host associations. In summary, we expect that results from these studies will lead to new broad research directions that integrate ERVs and infectious viruses with host biology to generate critical knowledge for understanding results in many areas of biological and biomedical research.