Program Responsible: Dr. David Romero.
The program is devoted to understand the forces and mechanisms that have shaped the genomic architecture of plant-associated proteobacteria (specifically of Rhizobium sp.) , both in the short-term and in an evolutionary perspective. The long term objective is to use this knowledge to develop novel strategies in genome engineering.
To that end, our research lines aim to ellucidate the mechanisms and evolutionary consequences of homologous recombination, site-specific recombination during plasmid conjugation, regulation of conjugative transfer, plasmid functional genomics (including the analysis of plasmid-encoded functions and the role of plasmid-located extracytoplasmic sigma factors in stress responses) as well as molecular systematics, microevolution and phylogeography. Part of this knowledge is being integrated in the generation of novel approaches for programmed deletion and global mutagenesis of the genome. Our work combines bioinformatic analysis, genetics and molecular biology strategies as well as population genetics analysis.