Henrik Kaessmann

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The analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been a potent tool in our understanding of human evolution, owing to characteristics such as high copy number, apparent lack of recombination, high substitution rate and maternal mode of inheritance. However, almost all studies of human evolution based on mtDNA sequencing have been confined to the control(More)
Changes in gene expression are thought to underlie many of the phenotypic differences between species. However, large-scale analyses of gene expression evolution were until recently prevented by technological limitations. Here we report the sequencing of polyadenylated RNA from six organs across ten species that represent all major mammalian lineages(More)
Ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs) are a highly conserved family of ligand-gated ion channels present in animals, plants, and bacteria, which are best characterized for their roles in synaptic communication in vertebrate nervous systems. A variant subfamily of iGluRs, the Ionotropic Receptors (IRs), was recently identified as a new class of olfactory(More)
Given that retroposed copies of genes are presumed to lack the regulatory elements required for their expression, retroposition has long been considered a mechanism without functional relevance. However, through an in silico assay for transcriptional activity, we identify here >1,000 transcribed retrocopies in the human genome, of which at least(More)
The origin of new genes through gene duplication is fundamental to the evolution of lineage- or species-specific phenotypic traits. In this report, we estimate the number of functional retrogenes on the lineage leading to humans generated by the high rate of retroposition (retroduplication) in primates. Extensive comparative sequencing and expression(More)
Only a very small fraction of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are well characterized. The evolutionary history of lncRNAs can provide insights into their functionality, but the absence of lncRNA annotations in non-model organisms has precluded comparative analyses. Here we present a large-scale evolutionary study of lncRNA repertoires and expression patterns,(More)
Ever since the pre-molecular era, the birth of new genes with novel functions has been considered to be a major contributor to adaptive evolutionary innovation. Here, I review the origin and evolution of new genes and their functions in eukaryotes, an area of research that has made rapid progress in the past decade thanks to the genomics revolution. Indeed,(More)
Mammalian sex chromosomes have undergone profound changes since evolving from ancestral autosomes. By examining retroposed genes in the human and mouse genomes, we demonstrate that, during evolution, the mammalian X chromosome has generated and recruited a disproportionately high number of functional retroposed genes, whereas the autosomes experienced lower(More)
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are major post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression, yet their origins and functional evolution in mammals remain little understood due to the lack of appropriate comparative data. Using RNA sequencing, we have generated extensive and comparable miRNA data for five organs in six species that represent all main mammalian lineages(More)
Understanding the extent of genomic transcription and its functional relevance is a central goal in genomics research. However, detailed genome-wide investigations of transcriptome complexity in major mammalian organs have been scarce. Here, using extensive RNA-seq data, we show that transcription of the genome is substantially more widespread in the testis(More)