Evolutionary comparison of HAR1 non-coding RNAs in multiple species

The Human Accelerated Region 1 (HAR1) is the most rapidly evolving region in the human genome. It is part of two overlapping long non-coding RNAs, has a length of only 118 nucleotides and features 18 human specific changes compared to an ancestral sequence that is extremely well conserved across non-human primates. The human HAR1 forms a stable secondary structure that is strikingly different from the one in chimpanzee as well as other closely related species, again emphasizing its human-specific evolutionary history.

Nevertheless, HAR1 is present in many other species and its role and evolution is still poorly understood and unexplored. This project aims to increase the level of comprehension of HAR1 evolution in multiple species and eventually shed light on patterns and knowledge via computational approaches.