Selenoproteins are proteins that incorporate the amino acid selenocysteine (Sec), the 21st aminoacid. Sec is incorporated in response to the UGA codon. Because UGA is normally a stop codon, selenoproteins are usually mis-predicted in the annotation of eukaryotic genomes.
We have developed a number of methods (SECISearch3, Seblastian, Selenoprofiles) to predict selenoproteins and became interested in their evolution. We have identified many novel selenoprotein genes, discovered the first animals without selenoproteins, and investigated the evolution of the genes involved in selenoprotein synthesis.
We are currently working on the development of efficient methods for selenoprotein prediction and annotation.