9th Annual Workshop, October 28-31, 1999
Co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy
Phylogenomics and the benefits of an evolutionary perspective in genome analysis
Jonathan A. Eisen
The Institute for Genomic Research, Rockville, Maryland, USA
It is generally accepted that comparative studies can greatly benefit the interpretation and analysis of genome sequences. Comparative molecular biological studies usually focus on quantifying and qualifying the levels and types of similarity or differences in molecular features within and between species. I discuss here how and evolutionary perspective is beneficial in comparative studies because it allows one to focus not just on the similarities and differences but in how and even why they came to be. In particular I will discuss the combination of evolutionary inference and genome analysis, which I refer to as phylogenomics. I will discuss four different aspects of phylogenomics: 1) prediction of gene function; 2) inferring evolutionary events such as gene loss, duplication and gene transfer and 3) inferring mutational processes and 4) confirming and predicting protein structures. In addition, I will discuss the technique of evolutionary genome scanning which allows one to identify genes that may contribute to specialized features of a particular organism. The discussion of phylogenomics and evolutionary genome scanning will focus on some of the genomes and chromosomes that have been recently completed at TIGR.