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Toxin-antidote selfish elements in animals: from gene drive to speciation

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 TOX-ANT project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the TOX-ANT project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "TOX-ANT" about.

virus    biology    elegans    prevalence    natural    zika    spreading    medicine    devo    leveraging    speciation    antagonize    class    predict    fish    selfish    nematodes    laws    qtl    challenged    animals    animal    evolutionary    relative    mendelian    nematode    dissecting    surprisingly    spread    decade    critical    genetically    examples    synthetic    diseases    biochemistry    mapping    toxin    evo    efficient    close    first    burdens    diverse    discovered    vectors    balancing    unknown    genomics    vertebrates    sup    ta    populations    raises    stimulate    perpetuated    molecular    team    drive    time    contribution    health    discover    species    35    global    gene    idea    dissected    malaria    effect    anticipated    expertise    tropicalis    acting    view    mechanisms    lack    subverting    action    mosquito    paternal    segregation    mechanism    antidote    extremely    fitness    bulk    underlying    rare    medaka    adults    questions    largely    genetics    mimicking    pha    dissect    screen    multidisciplinary    origin    previously    suggests   

Project "TOX-ANT" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: DR BOHRGASSE 3
city: WIEN
postcode: 1030

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Austria [AT]
 Total cost 1˙498˙428 €
 EC max contribution 1˙498˙428 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2019-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2020
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2020-03-01   to  2025-02-28


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Toxin-antidote (TA) elements are a class of selfish elements that spread in natural populations by subverting the laws of Mendelian segregation (gene drive activity). For a decade, the only known TA element in animals was a paternal-acting element discovered in the nematode C. elegans. The lack of other examples perpetuated the idea that TA elements were extremely rare in animals. However, I recently challenged this view with two key findings 1) I genetically dissected a second TA element in C. elegans, the element sup-35/pha-1, and 2) I identified five novel TA elements in C. tropicalis, a close relative of C. elegans. Surprisingly, some of these novel TA elements can affect the fitness of adults and can antagonize each other mimicking the effect of balancing selection. Overall, my research strongly suggests that TA elements are much more common in animals than previously anticipated and raises critical questions about their origin, prevalence, mechanism of action, and contribution to speciation, all of which are largely unknown. This proposal has three main objectives: 1. To dissect the molecular mechanisms underlying an animal TA element for the first time. 2. To identify and characterize novel TA elements in diverse nematode species. 3. To screen for TA elements in medaka fish. My team and I will achieve these objectives by leveraging my multidisciplinary expertise in genomics, evo-devo, and biochemistry, as well as a state-of-the-art bulk QTL mapping method that I recently developed. Dissecting the molecular mechanisms used by natural selfish elements will help us design more efficient and specific synthetic drive elements that could target mosquito vectors spreading diseases such as malaria and Zika virus - global health burdens. I predict that we will discover and characterize many novel TA selfish elements in diverse species from nematodes to vertebrates. Our findings will stimulate new research areas in genetics, evolutionary biology, and medicine.

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The information about "TOX-ANT" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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