Professor Ralph Bock, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology
Genes gone wild: Experimental evolution meets synthetic biology
In my talk, I will describe experimental approaches to study genome evolution in real time. I will discuss three fundamental processes in eukaryotic genome evolution and show how they can be reconstructed in laboratory experiments: (i) the transfer of organellar (plastid and mitochondrial) genes to the nuclear genome, (ii) the horizontal movement of organellar DNA between plants, and (iii) the movement of nuclear genetic material between plants by horizontal genome transfer. Finally, I will show how horizontal gene transfer can be employed as a versatile tool in plant biotechnology and synthetic biology.