The large communities of scientists devoted to understanding the genomes of humans and a few model organisms have made it look relatively easy to gain deep insights. (By the way, though, it has not really been very easy!) Understanding genomes, gene expression, and genome evolution of non-model organisms typically means a smaller community, fewer genome experts, less informatic resources, and less money. This presents challenges that are worth overcoming for the high-value science being generated and, often, requires compromises in approach and accepting less certainty in data interpretation. We will discuss these challenges, various possible approaches (e.g., sequencing whole genomes vs. transcriptomes), common pitfalls and frustrations, examples of good (and maybe some bad) science that has been reported from broad phylogenetic comparisons of genomes, some of the ways that comparative genomics is practiced, the role of phylogenetic reconstruction in accurately assigning gene functions, and the great value of incorporating comparisons of your data to that in human and model organism databases.
EventsScientific Seminar – Jeffrey Boore, Ph.D.