Saurabh Mahajan

I have a Masters degree in Biotechnology. Broadly, I am interested in understanding how microbes evolve. Right now, I am trying to make sense of the diversity across bacterial genomes. Consider this- some genomes consist of only 15% G-C base pairs, while others- 75%! Some have only single copies of rRNA genes, ~30 tRNAs, and little bias in codon usage between genes. Others have 15 rRNA gene copies, 100+ tRNA genes, and very biased codon usage. We know that a part of this diversity arises because bacteria adapt to different niches and have different growth strategies. However, the evolution of these traits may also depend on underlying molecular mechanisms- e.g. G/C are more likely to mutate to A/T, tRNA genes are often carried by transposons and phages. Moreover, GC content, codon usage, and tRNAs are functionally linked, making their evolution codependent. Using phylogenetic studies of bacterial genomes, I am trying to understand how all this comes together to generate the observed diversity in these traits. Apart from work in lab, I like to think about the social and philosophical context of science research, to keep up with happenings around the world, and play Badminton.

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