The Genetics and Epigenetics of Developmentally-Programmed DNA Rearrangements of Tetrahymena thermophilia

Only a small fraction of the genome is made up of actual genes. What function(s) does the remainder of the DNA perform? How do cells deal with "extra" DNA? All cells must recognize both the coding and non-coding DNA and organize it for proper gene regulation. Much of this organization is set up during development/differentiation and maintained throughout the life of the cell. Some organisms take extreme measures and reorganize their genome by massive DNA rearrangement.
My laboratory studies a remarkable process of chromosomal rearrangement that occurs during development of the ciliated protozoan Tetrahymena thermophila in which as many as 6,000 DNA segments are coordinately excised from the newly forming somatic nucleus. This research aims to understand the regulation of this massive genome reorganization and ultimately learn fundamental principles governing chromosome structure and genetic stability. 



Douglas Chalker
Office: Monsanto 304
Phone: 314-935-8838

Department of Biology
Campus Box 1137
One Brookings Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63130