Genetics Experts

Dr. Diego Cortez Quezada

Associate Professor
Genome Dynamics Program
Center for Genomic Sciences


Diego Cortez was born in Mexico D.F. and obtained his biology and master's degrees at the Faculty of Sciences of the UNAM. He received his PhD at the Pasteur Institute and the University of Paris XI in France working with Dr. Patrick Forterre and Dr. Simonetta Gribaldo on the origin of new genes and their connection with the virosphere. Furthermore, Diego also worked on the functional characterization of the Xer proteins in archaea (thermococcales), which happened to be involved in the resolution of the chromosomes. These findings had major implications in the evolution of the cell cycle. Diego pursued his post-doctoral research at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, studying the functional evolution of the Y chromosomes in mammals. Diego currently works at the Center for Genomic Sciences of the UNAM studying the evolution, origin and sexual turnovers in different groups of amniotes.

Research Interest



  • A hidden reservoir of integrative elements is the major source of recently acquired foreign genes and ORFans in archaeal and bacterial genomes. Cortez D, Forterre P and Gribaldo S. Genome Biology. 2009. Jun 16;10(6):R65. (Pubmed: 19531232).

  • Evidence for a Xer/dif system for chromosome resolution in archaea. Cortez D, Quevillon-Cheruel S, Gribaldo S, Desnoues N, Sezonov G, Forterre P, Serre MC. PLoS Genet. 2010 Oct 21;6(10):e1001166. (Pubmed: 20975945).

  • Origins and functional evolution of Y chromosomes across mammals. Cortez D, Marin R, Toledo-Flores D, Froidevaux L, Liechti A, Waters PD, Gr├╝tzner F, and Kaessmann H. Nature, Apr 24;508(7497):488-93. (Pubmed: 24759410).

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