Understanding the Evolution of Cellular Systems
We know that life on Earth began billions of years ago, spawning the biological diversity—or biodiversity—that now exists in the air, soil, and water all around us. What we don’t fully understand is how this biological diversity evolved. In particular, how was the DNA of diverse organisms transmitted from one generation to another, resulting in the cellular and molecular diversity that allows organisms to thrive in the Earth’s diverse environments?
As Canada Research Chair in Evolutionary Cell and Systems Biology, Dr. Christian Landry is trying to answer these questions and understand how cellular systems are shaped by evolutionary forces. He is studying how information contained in organisms’ DNA is translated into complex molecular and cellular structures.
Using the integrative approaches of systems biology (such as mathematical and computational models), Landry and his research team are looking at how DNA changes, and how these changes affect the organization of macromolecules (large molecules necessary for life, composed of thousands or more atoms) in cells.
Landry’s research will help us to better understand the forces that led to the evolution of biodiversity at the microscopic and molecular levels. Understanding these forces will help shed light on our origins, and may advance biological engineering in fields such as biotechnology and medicine.