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Function and evolution of sperm chromosomal proteins

In most species, the formation of mature sperm nuclei involves the massive replacement of nucleosomes with Sperm Nuclear Basic proteins (SNBPs), such as mammalian protamines, for instance. In contrast to highly conserved somatic core histones, SNBPs are fast evolving proteins that compact sperm DNA in a unique manner. Drosophila is an excellent model to study the deposition of SNBPs on DNA and their role in sperm nuclear organization. We are also interested in the evolution of SNBPs and sperm chromatin architecture by developing the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus as an alternative model organism in our lab.