The evolutionary dynamics of endogenous retroviruses (Visiting Scholar)
Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are viewed as a “fossil” record of an ancient retroviral infection on vertebrate genomes. They represent a valuable opportunity to understand current infectious retroviruses, such as the feared HIV which affects millions of people in the world. This project aims to understand the dynamics and evolution of ERVs in different vertebrate host genomes and compare them to other transposable elements (TEs). Computer simulations will be carried out and compared to real ERV/TE data from publicly available host genomes. This study will have future implications on medical genomics by enhancing our knowledge on how ERVs and other TEs are shaping host genomes and how they may be associated to diseases, increasing our understanding of modern retroviruses.