New genes are frequently formed during evolution in a wide variety of organisms playing a key role in the emergence of novel traits. Recently, studies have shown that new genes can quickly assume critical roles in developmental pathways by producing essential structures. Despite their importance, new genes are still seriously under-characterized in functional studies and inconsistently annotated in large-scale genome projects. Hence, biased estimations of gene gain and loss prevent us to establish how mutational processes and selective forces contribute to the source of new genes. Therefore, determining relations between genotype and phenotype in the emergence of a new gene requires current researches to apply a biological developmental system approach and perspective.
Our group main goal is to study processes and evolutionary forces connected to gene expression that are determinant for evolution and origin of new genes. To achieve this goal, we use different approaches such as: i) investigate the role of mutation and selective processes in the Drosophila and other species spermatogenesis impacting new gene evolution; ii) study the impact of genomic environment in non-coding RNA evolution and iii) investigate new gene origination associated with sex chromosome evolution.