Dr. Mark Zwart, NIOO, Wageningen – 19 February 2019

Quick and dirty: On the role of gene copy number variation in viral and bacterial adaptation


There are often multiple copies of a gene present in the genome of an organism, and the number of gene copies can be highly variable between individuals. Copy number variation is not only a feature of large genomes; it is also surprisingly common in the otherwise compact and streamlined genomes of bacteria and viruses. Why is copy number variation so common? What role does copy number variation play in adaptation, if any? I my talk I will use two examples to explore these questions. First, I will consider the role of copy number variation in bacterial adaptation to antibiotics, to look at tradeoffs between adaptation by copy number variants and adaptation by point mutations. Second, I will present an extreme example of copy number variation, multipartite viruses, and consider why such an exotic genome organization exists.

Nature of Life seminars

Date       :   19 February 2019

Time       :   15.45 hours

Location:   Room WN-C147, W&N building VU Amsterdam