Description: High throughput genome sequencing centers that were originally built for the Human Genome Project (Lander et al., 2001; Venter et al., 2001) have now become an engine for comparative genomics. The six largest centers alone are now producing over 150 billion nucleotides per year, more than 50 times the amount of DNA in the human genome, and nearly all of this is directed at projects that promise great insights into the pattern and processes of evolution. Unfortunately, this data is being produced at a pace far exceeding the capacity of the scientific community to provide insightful analysis, and few scientists with training and experience in evolutionary biology have played prominent roles to date. One of the consequences is that poor quality analyses are typical; for example, orthology among genes is generally determined by simple measures of sequence similarity, when this has been discredited by molecular evolutionary biologists decades ago. Here we discuss the how genomes are chosen for sequencing and how the scientific community can have input. We describe the PhIGs database and web tools (Dehal and Boore 2005a; http://PhIGs.org), which provide phylogenetic analysis of all gene families for all completely sequenced genomes and the associated 'Synteny Viewer', which allows comparisons of the relative positions of orthologous genes. This is the best tool available for inferring gene function across multiple genomes. We also describe how we have used the PhIGs methods with the whole genome sequences of a tunicate, fish, mouse, and human to conclusively demonstrate that two rounds of whole genome duplication occurred at the base of vertebrates (Dehal and Boore 2005b). This evidence is found in the large scale structure of the positions of paralogous genes that arose from duplications inferred by evolutionary analysis to have occurred at the base of vertebrates.
Date: January 9, 2006
Creator: Boore, Jeffrey L.; Dehal, Paramvir & Fuerstenberg, Susan I.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department