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Epigenetic inheritance and speciation in Paramecium

A fraction of the germline genome (MIC) is reproducibly elimnated during development of the somatic genome (MAC) in each sexual generation in the unicellular eukaryote Paramecium.
This fraction includes all Transposable Elements (TEs) as well as 45,000 short, single-copy IESs which appear to be degenerate remnants of ancient TE insertions into coding and non-coding sequences. Our project includes sequencing, assembly and annotation of the entire Paramecium tetraurelia MIC genome as well sequencing of the germline genomes of other Paramecium species. Our main objectives are to (i) elucidate the organization of MIC chromosomes and the diversity of germline-limited elements ; (ii) study the evolutionary trajectories of IESs as well as other MIC-specific sequences ; (iii) evaluate the potential effect of IES polymorphisms in driving speciation.