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Alu exaptation Our project on exaptation of Alu elements, led by Eitan Lavi, has now seen light in RNA Biology. In the paper, we show that many Alu elements in sense orientation overlap gene-ends. We identify three hotspots for gene-end formation within the Alu sequence, and show how they form under fortuitous circumstances, despite of the fact that the native Alu sequence contain no signals for gene-end. We show that this process led to the formation of ~300 of new transcript variants, thus enriching human transcriptome repertoire.

Eitan Lavi and Liran Carmel (2018). Alu exaptation enriches the human transcriptome by introducing new gene ends,RNA Biology advanced publication.

conference Liran was invited to give a talk at American Physical Society Worshop on the topic: can physics be useful to human genetics? The symposium was held at the Hebrew University of Jerusalm.

conference Liran was invited to give a talk at The Israel Zoo Association Annual Research Symposium, held at the Tisch Family zoological gardens in Jerusalem, Israel. Liran presented our work on using epigenetics to identify recent adaptations.

Israel Academy of Sciences Liran gave a presentation in a special symposium to commemorate Darwin Day, at the Israel Academy of Sciences and humanities. The symposium was about evolution of the human brain, and Liran surveyed our discoveries regarding the evolution of our voice box, and its potential implications on our speech capabilities.

Convergent evolution New paper from the lab is now online in PNAS. This project was led by our collaborator Lynne Maquat from University of Rochester Medical Center. In the paper, we suggest that independently evolved SINEs have accumulated in the 3'UTRs of orthologous human and mouse genes. We demonstrate that, in some cases, this has resulted in their regulating gene expression by Staufen-mediated mRNA decay (SMD) in human and mouse myoblasts. Thus, SINE-directed SMD has convergently evolved to regulate myoblast metabolism. This represents an example of the convergent evolution of posttranscriptional gene regulation using SINEs.

Bronwyn A. Lucas, Eitan Lavi, Lily Shiue, Hana Cho, Sol Katzman, Keita Miyoshi, Mikiko C. Siomi, Liran Carmel, Manuel Ares, Jr., and Lynne E. Maquat (2018). Evidence for convergent evolution of SINE-directed Staufen-mediated mRNA decay, PNAS 115:968-973.

Research Interests:
Our lab deals with a host of topics in the general fields of molecular evolution and genetics. Among the topics that are currently pursued are:
  • Human evolution. Recent advances in ancient DNA sequencing yielded genomes (either shotgun sequences with varying degrees of coverage, or SNP arrays) of many ancient anatomically modern humans, as well as of Neanderthals and Denisovans. This open unique opportunities to study the genetic aspects of the very recent lag of our own evolution.
  • Paleo-epigenetics. We developed a technique to reconstruct full DNA methylation maps from high-coverage ancient genomes, and use it to study evolutionary changes in gene regulation, ancient environments and phenotypic adaptations.
  • Paleo-genetics. We study the genetic structure of ancient populations in Israel.
  • RNA biology. We are studying many aspects of RNA biology, including splicing, nonsense-mediated decay, 3'-end processing, and circular RNAs.
  • Multivariate data analysis. My lab is also active in some fields of applied mathematics: multivariate analysis, statistical pattern recognition, data visualization, and machine learning.
A quick summary of our research on archaic gene regulation. A narration accompanied by whiteboard animation.

Interview Yoav Mathov was interviewed in Makademia.

MovieLiran was interviewed at London et Kirshenbaum about Otzi's helicobacter. Minutes 29:42 to 34:33.

Our Web Servers
Movie Gene ORGANizer connects genes to the body parts where their phenotype is observed. Given a list of genes, Gene ORGANizer finds body parts in which these genes are enriched or depleted. The paper is about to appear in the webserver issue of NAR, but can already be found online.

Movie JuncDB is a gene exon-intron architecture comparative database, covering nearly 40,000 sets of orthologous transcripts across 88 eukaryotic species. It had been published in the database issue of NAR.
Contact Information:
Room 2-342
Department of Genetics, The Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science,
the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Edmond J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel
telephone +972 (2) 658-5103
fax +972 (2) 658-4856
email liran.carmel @
The Hebrew University
Useful links: for more details and full list