We study genome architecture, genetic diversity, and the evolutionary forces that fashion genes and chromosomes. We’re interested in how nonadaptive processes shape genomes, including their nucleotide composition, compactness, conformation, chromosome number and telomeres. Much of our research employs protists (microbial eukaryotes). Protists have among the most diverse and eccentric genomes in the biological world, yet they are generally an untapped resource for studying genome evolution. We love weird genomes and trying to understand how they got that way.
Degrees and Institutions
B.Sc. (Biology) Acadia University
Ph.D. (Genetics and Evolution) Dalhousie University
Biology 4200B - Genome Evolution
Biology 4441F - Special Topics in Evolution
Tian Y, Smith DR (2016) Recovering complete mitochondrial genome sequences from RNA-Seq: a case study of Polytomella non-photosynthetic green algae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 98:57.
Smith DR (2016) The past, present, and future of mitochondrial genomics: have we sequenced enough mtDNAs? Briefings in Functional Genomics. 15:47.
Asmail SR, Smith DR (2016) Retention, erosion, and loss of the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway in the nonphotosynthetic green algal genus Polytomella. New Phytologist. 209:899.
Smith DR, Keeling PJ (2015) Mitochondrial and plastid genome architecture: reoccurring themes, but significant differences at the extremes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 112:10177.
Del Vasto M*, Figueroa-Martinez F, Featherston J, Gonzalez MA, Reyes-Prieto A, Durrand PM, Smith DR (2015) Massive and widespread organelle genomic expansion in the green algal genus Dunaliella. Genome Biology and Evolution. 7:656.