Evolutionary Genomics

Group Leader

Maria del Mar Albà Soler (ICREA Professor)

The Evolutionary Genomics group, led by Mar Albà, uses comparative genomics and large-scale transcriptomics data to understand the complexity of gene regulation and evolutionary innovation processes.

We are developing novel approaches to reconstruct and quantify the transcriptome using high-throughput RNA sequencing data, including long-read technologies such as Nanopore. We are also using techniques for sequencing ribosome-protected RNA fragments, also known as ribosome profiling.

Using these techniques we have been able to discover many novel translated small ORFs (sORFs). Some of these sORFs correspond to highly conserved small proteins, or micropeptides, that can have important cellular functions. Others are intermediates in the process of generation of de novo genes, new types of gene that arise from previously non-coding parts of the genome.

Finally, we are also using transcriptomics data to study the emergence of novel transcripts and neoantigens in cancer.

 Research group


William Robert Blevins (Technician)

José Carlos Montañés Domínguez (Technician)

Simone Moro (Technician)


Main PublicationsOngoing Research ProjectsAppointmentsOutreach 


Main Publications

• Ruiz-Orera J, Albà MM. Translation of Small Open Reading Frames: Roles in Regulation and Evolutionary Innovation. Trends Genet 2019; 35(3): 186-198. IF 10.627. D1.

• Blevins WR, Tavella T, Moro SG, Blasco-Moreno B, Closa-Mosquera A, Díez J, Carey LB, Albà MM. Extensive post-transcriptional buffering of gene expression in the response to severe oxidative stress in baker's yeast. Sci Rep 2019; 9: 11005. IF 4.011. Q1.

• Blevins WR, Carey LB, Albà MM. Transcriptomics data of 11 species of yeast identically grown in rich media and oxidative stress conditions. BMC Res Notes 2019; 12: 250. SJR 0.661. Q2.

• Ruiz-Orera J, Albà MM. Conserved regions in long non-coding RNAs contain abundant translation and protein–RNA interaction signatures. NAR Genomics and Bioinformatics 2019; 1(1): e2.

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Ongoing Research Projects

• Mecanismos de formación de genes nuevos

- Financing institution: Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (BFU2015-65235-P)

- Period: from 2016 to 2019

- Principal investigator: Albà Soler, Maria del Mar

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• Maria del Mar Albà Soler. Member of the jury of Premi Ciutat de Barcelona Ciències de la Vida. Barcelona, 10-20 January 2019.

• Maria del Mar Albà Soler. Member of the jury of Fitch Prize Annual Meeting Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. SMBE’19. Manchester, UK, 23 July 2019.


Dissemination to Society and Initiatives of Citizen Participation

• William Robert Blevins. Pint of Science: Dur la recerca científica als bars. 13 September 2019.

• William Robert Blevins; José Luis Villanueva-Cañas. Pint of Science: Beyond Jurassic Park. Frontiers of Science and Science Fiction. BlackLab (Barcelona), 22 May 2019.






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