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Ricardo Godinez Moreno

PhD student

Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Harvard University


26 Oxford Street, Cambridge,

MA 02138, MCZ Room 500B

Tel: 617-496-9389 Fax: 617-495-5667

BS. Basic Medical Research,

Instituto de Investigaciones Biomedicas,

School of Medicine, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México (U.N.A.M)

ricardo godinez

Research Interests:


i) Comparative genomics and Evolution of the Reptilian Major histocompatibility Complex (MHC)


ii) Reconstruction of ancient syntenic gene families


iii) Evolution of the expression and structure of synthenic gene families


I study the evolution of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) in basal reptiles to reconstruct the ancestral amniote MHC as it existed 350 million years ago (Mya). To accomplish this goal, I will merge the hypotheses of a) comparative genomics, b) phylogenomics and c) functional genomics.

Comparative Genomics

My goal is to characterize the effects of selection in the MHC "gene family" through gene structure, haplotype structure, hitch-hiking , DN/DS ratio, among others, which explain part of the reasons of the syntenic relationship of the MHC among vertebrates.

I have a special interest in characterizing the reptilian MHC because it remains almost unexplored until now and because it is a crucial element to reconstruct the ancestral amniote MHC.


To better understand the evolution of MHC genes in amniotes, genetrees will be constructed in order to improve the resolution of previous phylogenies based solely in mammalian or amphibian sequences. Furthermore, the emergence of bayesian approaches will be crucial for reconstructing the ancestral state of the amniote MHC. My goal is to derive statistical priors based on the evolution of mammalian and reptilian MHC gene families to reconstruct the MHC of the common amniote ancestor (350 Mya).  A similar reconstruction has been reported for the ancestral Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) locus for the common ancestor of eutherian mammals (75 Mya). Ultimately, the reconstruction of the amnniote MHC gene family will provide a better understanding of the evolution of the adaptive immune system in humans and other mammals at the molecular level.

Functional genomics

MHCs of various species have been rearranged by addition and deletion of genes or modification by gene conversion.  Despite rearrangements, different MHCs retain a self/non-self recognition phenotype which is conserved in every vertebrate. To understand how the expresion of genes is commonly regulated across archosaurians, despite of the structural and polymorphic variability of the MHC gene family. I will use novel techniques in functional genomics to analize gene expresion in MHC syntenic regions to elucidate the extent of directional and stabilizing selection .

I am currently characterizing and/ or collaborating in the analysis of MHC gene families in the following species:

  • Green Anole (Anolis Carolinensis)
  • Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
  • American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
  • Flightless Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)
  • Zebra Finch ( Taeniopygia guttata guttata)





Recent Publications:

Shotgun sequencing and genomic analysis of ~ 500,000 bp contained in eleven fosmids overlapping the Fusion Histocompatibility Locus (Fu-HC) in the protochordate Botryllus schlosseri. (undergraduate senior thesis) The University of Oklahoma

 Immune Response Induced by intranasal immunization in Mice with Linear Common Epitope and B Subunit of Cholera Toxin against Enteroxigenic Escherichia coli infection. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 11TH ICID ABSTRACTS, 2004 March (8) Suplement1,18.020

Immune Response Induced by intranasal immunization in Hammster and Mice with Linear Common Epitope and B Subunit of Cholera Toxin against Enteroxigenic Escherichia coli infection Suaste OR, Godínez R. Acosta E and Lopez -Vidal Y.  In queue (Elsevier Science) 

Chapters in books:

Chemistry IV for High School Students at the Science and Humanities College (CCH) México Cataño Silvia, Cervantes Guadalupe, Valdes Otilia, Godínez Ricardo.  Editorial UNAM. Colegio de Ciencias y Humanidades, 2003 Naucalpan Edo. México



Yolanda López Vidal, Olga Roxana Suaste Villanueva, Ricardo Godínez Moreno, Luis José Arredondo. “Intranasal vaccine for the disease caused by  Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC)”, Vacuna Intranasal contra la enfermedad causada por Escherichia coli enterotoxigenica  Expediente: PA/a/2005/011997,  Registration Date Nov /8/2005  Folio:PA/E/2005/061712





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