Christian Rödelsperger

Evolutionary Genomics and Bioinformatics

Max Planck Insitute for Biology
Faculty in: TIPP


  • Diploma at the University of Tübingen , 2000-2007
  • PhD studies at the Free University of Berlin, 2007-2011
  • Postdoctoral fellow at the MPI for Biology, 2011-2012
  • Project Leader, MPI for Biology, Since 2013

Research Interest

How do processes like duplication, genomic rearrangements, and formation of novel genes shape genomes? Do these processes generate heritable differences in the phenotypes that we care about? To extend our understanding of these two questions, we combine large-scale sequencing data with statistical analysis in the nematode Pristionchus pacificus. Nematodes such as P. pacificus and Caenorhabditis elegans are excellent model systems to study these two questions, because they are easy to maintain in the lab, have small genomes, and have a broad range of well established experimental protocols including genome editing. The combination between genomic analysis and experimental validation allows us to dissect the genetic basis of various morphological, developmental, and behavioral traits. This is complemented by  bioinformatic studies of novel gene formation. The genome of P. pacificus contains thousands of orphan genes that lack homologs outside the genus Pristionchus. We employ genome sequencing at the level of species and populations to study the origin, and evolution of these novel genes at various time-scales. In addition, we are generating large-scale transcriptomic data, to investigate the systems biology of regulatory networks and to asked which network components are formed by novel genes. Hereby, we study the response of regulatory networks to changing environments and screen for causative effects by treating the expression data as molecular phenotypes.  

Available PhD Projects in TIPP

Currently not recruiting PhD students

Selected Reading

  • Rödelsperger, C., Meyer, J., Prabh, N., Lanz, C., Bemm, F., Sommer, R.J. (2017). Single-Molecule Sequencing Reveals the Chromosome-Scale Genomic Architecture of the Nematode Model Organism Pristionchus pacificus. Cell Reports. 21(3):834-844. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.09.077.
  • Rödelsperger, C., Röseler, W., Prabh, N., Yoshida, K., Weiler, C., Herrmann, M., Sommer, R.J. (2018). Phylotranscriptomics of Pristionchus Nematodes Reveals Parallel Gene Loss in Six Hermaphroditic Lineages. Current Biology. 28(19):3123-3127. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.07.041.
  • Prabh, N., Röseler, W., Witte, H. , Eberhardt. G. , Sommer, R.J., Rödelsperger, C. (2018). Deep taxon sampling reveals the evolutionary dynamics of novel gene families in Pristionchus nematodes. Genome Research. 28(11):1664-1674. doi: 10.1101/gr.234971.118.
  • Rödelsperger, C., Prabh, N., Sommer, R.J. (2019). New Gene Origin and Deep Taxon Phylogenomics: Opportunities and Challenges. Trends in Genetics. 35(12):914-922. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2019.08.007.
  • Rödelsperger, C., Ebbing, A., Sharma, D.R. , Okumura, M., Sommer, R.J., Korswagen, H.C.  (2021). Spatial Transcriptomics of Nematodes Identifies Sperm Cells as a Source of Genomic Novelty and Rapid Evolution. Molecular Biolgy and Evolution. 38(1):229-243. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msaa207.
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