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Category:
Natural Sciences

Lecturer:
Prof. Dr. Antonis Rokas, Department of Biological Sciences,Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA

Place:
HITS, Carl-Bosch-Auditorium of Studio Villa Bosch, Schloss-Wolfsbrunnenweg 33

Host:
HITS

Description:
Abstract: In the Rokas lab (http://as.vanderbilt.edu/rokaslab/), we study the DNA record to gain insight into the patterns and processes of evolution. We do so using both computational and experimental approaches and focus on three major research themes; the evolution of human pregnancy, the evolution of fungal chemodiversity, and phylogenomics. My talk will focus on our phylogenomics work. Advances in high throughput sequencing technologies in the last few years have facilitated the assembly of many taxon-rich genome-scale data matrices to reconstruct the evolutionary history of a wide diversity of lineages across the tree of life. Because the statistical support accompanying the analyses of such data matrices is always very high, their publication is always accompanied by claims that the historical patterns described therein are definitive and unlikely to change. However, the amount of topological incongruence between the genes that comprise these phylogenomic data matrices is staggeringly high, and different phylogenomic analyses of the same lineage often result in dramatically different conclusions. I will describe ongoing research in my lab that couples genome-wide phylogenomic data with novel algorithms and analytical approaches to elucidate challenging-to-resolve branches in the phylogenies of animals, plants, and fungi.

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