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Comparative genomics of Talaromyces and Histoplasma – examining the converging evolution of thermally-regulated dimorphism

Comparative genomics of Talaromyces and Histoplasma – examining the converging evolution of thermally-regulated dimorphism

Project Summary

Talaromyces and Histoplasma are two of the world’s seven major thermally-dimorphic fungal pathogens of medical importance. The pathogens belong to two different genetic orders and have different ancestors and distinct geographical distance (Talaromyces is in SE Asia, and Histoplasma is in North and South America). However, they have independently evolved a common thermally-regulated pathway in the switching from a filamentous mold into a parasitic yeast form in order to invade human host. The objective of this project is to compare whole genome data generated for 200 clinical isolates of Talaromyces and 80 clinical isolates of Histoplasma and contrast the genome blueprints responsible for this converging evolution concept.

Timeline and desired outcomes

Week 1-2: Genome data assembly Week 3-4: Data analysis Week 5-6: Data analysis Week 7-10: Preparing manuscript for publication

Expectations for intern

Experience in analyses of pathogen genomes is required or desired. The intern will work under the supervision of Dr. Thuy Le and Dr. Daniel Matute, a molecular geneticist from UNC, and will acquire bioinformatics skills on genome alignment and comparative genome analyses.