Sandra Duharcourt, head of the Programmed Genome Elimination team, was awarded the CNRS silver medal yesterday by André Le Bivic, director of the INSB CNRS.
Research Director at the Institut Jacques Monod, expert in combining genomics, cell biology and biochemistry approaches to study genome dynamics in eukaryotes.
In order to understand the fundamental principles that govern chromosome structure and genetic stability in eukaryotes, Sandra Duharcourt is exploring, in paramecia (a unicellular eukaryotic organism), the phenomenon of elimination, at each generation, of at least one third of the germline genome, i.e. all the sequences involved in reproduction and capable of transmitting their mutations to their descendants. These eliminated sequences include repeated sequences as well as about 50 000 short unique sequences. She has, for example, demonstrated the involvement of non-coding RNA and chromatin in DNA elimination mechanisms, and participated in the sequencing and annotation of the germline genome of different paramecium species. Currently, Sandra Duharcourt is identifying the eliminated sequences and their evolutionary trajectory, elucidating the molecular mechanisms of programmed DNA elimination as well as the functions associated with this massive genome reorganisation.