About This Project
Lichens, symbioses between fungi and algae, survive levels of desiccation lethal to most organisms. We recently discovered that seemingly unnecessary extra DNA segments ("introns") present in the lichen DNA coding for ribosomes are central to the induction of desiccation resistance. We hypothesize that the slowdown in ribosome assembly caused by the introns triggers the expression of genes protective against desiccation damage. We plan to identify these protective genes through RNA sequencing.