Evolutionary Genomics & Bioinformatics Evol. Genomics & Bioinformatics Tools

1. Development of Bioinformatic Tools for Molecular Evolution

The large volume of available DNA sequences requires new and powerful computational tools for their analysis. Indeed, the comparative analysis of genes and genomes can provide useful information on their origin and on the mechanisms involved in their evolution. With this goal we are developing bioinformatic tools for the analysis of DNA sequence variation in genes and genomes. We are currently developing coalescent-based statistical tests, algorithms and software for:

  1. the analysis of SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms)
  2. the extensive analysis of nucleotide variation at small DNA coding and noncoding regions (level and pattern of variation, linkage disequilibria, recombination, codon bias, etc.)
  3. the analysis of the pattern of variation in whole genomes or chromosomes
  4. displaying the pattern of polymorphism (linkage disequilibria, nucleotide diversity, etc.) along large DNA regions of the genome.

Relevant Publications


2. Comparative Genomics

Chemoreception is a crucial biological process, essential for the survival of animals. In insects, olfaction allows the recognition of volatile cues that confer the organism the capacity to detect food, predators and mates, while the sense of taste commonly allows the discrimination of soluble stimulants that elicit feeding behaviours, although it can also initiate innate sexual and reproductive responses. The most important protein components underlying the recognition of chemical cues comprise moderate-size multigene families. These families include odorant-binding (OBPs) and chemosensory (CSPs) proteins, involved in peripheral olfactory processing, the chemoreceptor superfamily formed by the olfactory (OR) and gustatory (GR) receptors, and the Ionotropic receptor (IR) gene family.

The availability of whole genome sequence data for several arthropod species offers the possibility of conducting a fine-scale comparative genomic analysis on this gene family. Currently, we are conducting the following research:

  1. Identification and annotation of functional and non-functional members of the chemosensory gene families in complete genomes
  2. Estimation of the birth-and-death rates (gene duplication and gene loss rates)
  3. Study of the impact of the positive and negative selection across gene members

Relevant Publications


Selected Publications

EGB publications