I am interested in the study of genome evolution and sex determination in vertebrates.
During my phD (University of Lisbon, Portugal/ University of Wuerzburg, Germany) I have focused on the study of genome evolution in hybrid fish. The aim of my thesis was to assess whether hybridisation and polyploidy could have a functional effect on gene expression regulation. I studied these processes at the level of sex determination, as well as in a broader context regarding the contribution of each genome to the overall gene expression patterns.
At the Molecular Ecology and Evolution lab I am working on the characterization of a neo-sex chromosome in birds (resulting from the fusion of autosomal material with a sex chromosome). The aims of this project are to determine when this association arose, what is the extension of the sex-linked area and to study the evolutionary history of the neo-sex chromosome. Additionally, I hope to obtain a better understanding of the properties and organization of autosomes and sex chromosomes in the species in which the neo-sex chromosome is present and get some insight on the functional significance of this association.
Pala, I., Schartl, M., Brito, M., Malta Vacas, J., Coelho, M.M., 2010. Gene expression regulation and lineage evolution: the North and South tale of the hybrid polyploid Squalius alburnoides complex. Proc. R. Soc. B 277: 3519-3525.
Pala, I., Schartl, M., Thorsteinsdottir, S., Coelho, M.M., 2009. Sex determination in the Squalius alburnoides complex: an initial characterization of sex cascade elements in the context of a hybrid polyploid genome. Plos One 4: e6401.
Pala, I., Coelho, M.M., Schartl, M., 2008. Dosage compensation by gene copy silencing in a triploid hybrid fish. Curr Biol. 18: 1344-1348.