The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change
is a research museum of the Leibniz Association
Link to Leibniz Association
Comparative genomics is in its infancy. Genome sequencing just now generates the data to compare not only model organisms and vertebrates but to actually assess biodiversity. Explaining biodiversity relies on an understanding of underlying mechanisms of genome evolution, which in turn is based on a thorough knowledge of genomic characters and the driving forces shaping them. Insects, highly diverse given their phylogenetic age, are suspected to have differently organized and evolving genomes than vertebrates and plants.
In the Leibniz Graduate School on Genomic Biodiversity Research , we sequenced and will analyze ~30 insect and outgroup species. We aim to characterize their genomes and elucidate evolutionary processes potentially responsible for their success in terms of biodiversity. JWs project focuses on the assessment of protein-coding genes (gene annotation). She started with a comparative analysis of descriptive parameters like gene structure and composition and will continue to search for drivers of gene repertoire evolution.
Prospectively, the study aims to quantify the contribution of gene repertoire changes to genome and eventually organismic evolution relative to the effect of changes in the non-coding components like transposable elements. Questions are: Which forces drive the evolution of genic and genomic composition? How do gene repertoires change? Can we quantify the contribution of gene repertoire changes to genome and eventually organismic evolution? How is this related to the effect of changes in other genome components? Where are the limits of automated structural gene annotation and of interpreting gene structure data across genomes?