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The MIRI project is funded by the French National Research Agency (l'Agence Nationale de la Recherche), the ANR, a public institution for the management of administrative issues, that was created on January 01, 2007, and is a funding agency for research projects. MIRI is funded for 4 years starting from Jan. 1st 2009. It has a single partner, the BAMBOO Team, headed by Marie-France Sagot, also coordinator of MIRI.

MIRI's main purpose

The huge variety in the types of close and long-term relations observed between different species, the so-called symbiotic relations that involve a symbiont and its host, is mirrored by a huge variety of genomic and biochemical landscapes inside the symbiont world, and at the interface between symbionts and hosts. The purpose of this project is to combinatorially explore those landscapes at the molecular level, that is at the level of the genome and of two of the main types of biochemical networks that may be reconstructed from the sequenced genomes of symbionts and hosts. Such networks are the metabolic and protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks. The final objective is to try to relate the contours of the landscapes to the modus operandi of the symbiotic relation, thereby offering a hope of better understanding the latter, in particular its evolution.

The symbiosis issue is vast and complex. The MIRI project will focus first on two questions concerning the evolution of symbionts, one at the genome level, namely the studies of rearrangements, and one at the biochemical network level and interface between genome and network. The evolution of symbionts may be largely dependent on the evolution of their hosts. In a third part of the project, we therefore address the question of the evolution of the intimate relations themselves by studying the co-cladogenesis (co-speciation) of hosts and symbionts, and more generally their co-evolution, that is the mutual evolutionary influence they exert on each other.

Graph (tree) combinatorics and algorithmics underlie each of these problems, as well as issues related to random graph enumeration under certain models to improve confidence in the evolution and co-evolution scenarii inferred.

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