SPECIAL MONDAY JOINT CS/BIOLOGY COLLOQIUM: Evaluating Genome Evolution
How does nature make new genes and do new genes make us what we are? All modern vertebrates share roughly the same set of genes, about twice as many genes as our nearest invertebrate relatives. What events caused this dramatic increase in gene number and are they responsible for the dramatic innovations, such as large body size, paired appendages and myelinated nerves, seen in modern vertebrates? I will present computational methods developed in my laboratory to investigate the origin of new genes and discuss how they can be applied to genomic data. Examples such as drug resistance in malaria and the evolution of separate mammalian insulin signaling pathways for growth and metabolism will be used to illustrate how computational evolutionary genomics can shed light on genetic function and disease in contemporary organisms.