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Programmed-DNA elimination during development

Some animal species systematically undergo the excision and elimination of specific portions of their genome in their somatic cells during early embryogenesis, while the germline genome remains intact.
This process, known as programmed-DNA elimination (PDE), primarily targets repeated elements but also protein-coding genes.  Despite being observed over 150 years ago, PDE has remained enigmatic due to the inapplicability of functional approaches in the studied species.
We have identified PDE in all species of the free-living nematode genus Mesorhabditis, which are lab tractable. As these nematodes are closely related to the model species C. elegans, Mesorhabditis presents several experimental advantages for unraveling the mechanisms, functions, and evolution of PDE. To achieve this, we integrate comparative genomics and functional approaches, notably utilizing RNAi and CRISPR/Cas techniques.


C. Rey, C. Launay, E. Wenger, M. Delattre. Programmed-DNA Elimination in the free-living nematodes Mesorhabditis. Current Biology 2023.