Basser Seminar Series

Mammalian Phylogenomics and Spotting Queer Genes

Speaker: Dr Peter Waddell
Assistant Professor, Purdue University

Time: Friday 11 December 2009, 4:00-5:00pm
Refreshments will be available from 3:30pm

Location: The University of Sydney, School of IT Building, Lecture Theatre (Room 123), Level 1

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Phylogenomics is the unifying methodology of comparative genomics. Mammalian genomics is making great bounds which are set to accelerate with second generation sequencing technologies. I will be firstly talking about the deep phylogeny of placental mammals, a topic I have been heavily involved in.

This includes the controversial topic of divergence time estimation. I will then talk about future directions we are pursuing in phylogenomics. On the one hand there is the growing area of comparative functional genomics. We are pursuing this particularly through the FAIRE procedure, which reveals the ³open² regions of cells under specific growing conditions. Our research is also active in field of methodology. Testing fit of data to phylogenetic model remains a critical problem, and I will be talking about some of our recent work in this area. Such tests in a phylogenomic context allow us to detect ³queer² genes; that is genes which show atypical behavior, perhaps due to natural selection.

Speaker's biography

Peter is currently an Assistant Professor at Purdue University. He completed a B.S./M.S at the University of Auckland in 1990, and received his Ph.D. at Massey University in 1996.