Center for Evolutionary Functional Genomics
Scientists in the Center for Evolutionary Functional Genomics are utilizing innovations in information technology to develop tools for exploring long-standing biological questions. The recent ability to obtain the complete DNA sequence information of any organism—its genome— has allowed us to map and explore life’s genetic blueprints and the evolution thereof. To facilitate this exploration, we have developed easy-to-use computer software for the analysis of genomic databases.
We are also using comparative sequence analysis to understand the mechanisms and functional impact of evolutionary change within and across species, particularly how the genes and genomes of humans and other organisms change over time. Through analysis and characterization of interspecific genomic variation, our researchers are gaining insights into the emergence and prevalence of human disease factors. Using large-scale comparative sequence analysis techniques, we are building a timescale of life in an effort to reconstruct the evolutionary history of species.
The Center has identified several core research areas in which it strives for excellence: comparative genomics, computational developmental biology, and software and database development. See our project section for more details.
In addition to better understanding of disease, the fusion of computer science and biology holds promise for other applications to benefit human health. The dramatic growth in the scale and complexity of biological information will drive market demands for new informatics tools for data annotation, mining and visualization to optimize information retrieval and productive utilization in diverse information sciences and industrial applications. Finding solutions to these questions will influence progress in both health-related research and information technology. The rapidly-growing bioinformatics market is estimated to be as large as $37 billion.