International Workshop

"Structural and Functional Diversity of the Eukaryotic Genome"

The last years of genome studies are characterized by intensive sequencing of eukaryotic genomes, that provides an invaluable resource for elucidation of the genome structure, function and the diversity, both intragenomic, and across species. This development is concordant with an explosion of studies on regulation of gene expression by RNA interference, and renewed interest to chromatin studies. In particular, the whole-genome mapping of the nucleosomes, distribution of histone and DNA modifications along the genomes, chromatin structure of promoters, chromatin remodelling and developmental stage and tissue specific chromatin structure variations. The plethora of the new knowledge has to be related to accumulated earlier "classical" results on the eukaryotic genome structure, and desirably brought together into one broad picture. For that the communication between different genome related disciplines is a must. The proposed workshop is geared to that target.

Recent developments in the elucidation of regulation of gene expression opened a whole spectrum of new-born and revived mechanisms of tuning and switching the gene expression in norm and in pathology, such as RNA interference, chromatin remodeling and epigenetic phenomena. Due to swift development of new sequencing techniques during last years a large volume of genomic sequences became available, with concomitant bioinformatic analyses. Accumulating knowledge in "classical" molecular and cell biology has to be linked to the  modern genomics, for the mutual benefit, towards a comprehensive picture of modern biology. The workshop is aimed at outlining strategic trends of research that would combine the first hand experience in various front line genome studies, by the topmost experts in the genomic disciplines.

Specific aims are

  1. Sharing the most recent knowledge in the overlapping fields of genome research.
  2. Developing coordination and collaborations in future studies. Specifically – boosting European scientific cooperation and external ties.
  3. Promoting knowledge to be applied to the path from strict monogenic disorders to complex diseases.
  4. Outlining commonalities and differences between eukaryotic genomes, plant and animal genomes, specifically.
  5. Promoting propagation of achievements in animal genome studies into plant genome research.
  6. Making the public aware of the role genome research plays in our lifes.

The Workshop is to be conducted during 3 days in September-October, 2010 (exact date to be finalized).

The location of the Workshop will be Brno, Czech Republic. According to a preliminary agreement with the Augustine Abbey, the presentations and discussions will take place in the main aula of the Mendel Museum.

Apart from 25 invited speakers and panelists, the workshop is planned to host additional 75-125 participants on the broad basis (to be announced in scientific and educational media), for a fee of around 100 Euro as a contribution to the workshop's budget.

The speakers' list is assembled according to the following criteria:

  1. The top scientific quality and subject diversity of the invited participants
  2. Fair international representation
  3. A proportion of  young scientists with exceptional record and/or relevance of their work
  4. Emphasis to European involvement, especially Czech Republic, a new member of EU
  5. Fair representation of  plant genomics

The Role of Change in Evolution: 40 years after Jacques Monod's book

Recent discussions on creationism and intelligent design have blurred some real scientific problems in evolution. Indeed, very different viewpoints on basic issues can be found in the current literature. For example, the role of Natural Selection, the cornestone of Darwin's theory, has been recently seen as a minor one in evolution (Lynch, Koonin). In general, the proponents of a given view avoid discussing alternative viewpoints. It is of great interest, therefore, to have a meeting in which the proponents of different ideas confront them with alternative views.

The proposed meeting intends to provide such a confrontation. Because of its nature, which requires extended discussions, the meeting can only involve a relatively small number of speakers for a full three-day meeting. The idea is, therefore, to limit this number to twenty and to limit the whole attendance to fifty.

The major objective of the Ravello meeting is a confrontation of the different prevailing viewpoints which are present in the literature. To give just an example, the Role of Chance in Evolution is seen in very different ways by several of the invited speakers. This year is the 40th Anniversary of the famous book Chance and Necessity by Jacques Monod (and also the 100th Anniversary of his birth). It is therefore especially appropriate to have this meeting in 2010.

The meeting should take place over three days (20, 21, 22 October 2010 with arrivals on the 19th and departures on the 23rd). The location is Hotel Rufolo in Ravello, on the Amalfi coast, south of Naples, which provides an ideal setting for such a meeting. Ravello is a place which has been the venue of other important meetings. For example the foundation of EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organization) took place in Ravello to mention only one of them.

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