Harmit Malik: Molecular arms races between primate and viral genomes

I. Host evolution
II. Viral evolution

Part I: Host evolution

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Lecture Overview
Malik explains that viruses and their human hosts are constantly undergoing an evolutionary arms race. In this high stakes battle, one party is always losing and thus there is always pressure on the “loser” to innovate. Through cycles of adaptation, the “winner” and “loser” are continually switched. A comparison of human, rhesus macaque and chimpanzee genomes shows that most primate genes have undergone very few changes over time. However, there are a few genes that have undergone many more changes indicating that mutation in these genes may be advantageous. Interestingly, many of these genes are involved in immunity. More >>

Speaker Bio
Harmit Malik received his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and his PhD from the University of Rochester. He moved to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle for post-doctoral work and decided to stay, starting his own lab in the Division of Basic Sciences in 2003. Malik is interested in the evolution of genetic conflict. To this end, his lab studies transposable elements and viruses, as both of these genomic elements are interested only in their own evolutionary success. He also studies the strategies used by primates to defend themselves against attack by viruses. Another part of his lab is interested in understanding how these conflicts between and within genomes shape essential cellular processes, with a special focus on chromosome segregation. More >>

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