SOLTIS, DOUGLAS E. Department of Botany and the Genetics Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. - Comparative and functional genomics: evolutionary implications.
This symposium will explore the rapidly developing impact of genomics
research on evolutionary biology. Functional genomics deals with what
portions of the genome actually do; comparative genomics involves the
comparison of genomes, including genome structure and evolution.
Phylogeny has a major role to play in genomics research; phylogenomics
exploits the use of evolutionary information to facilitate the
assignment of gene function. The five speakers in this symposium will
discuss evolutionary implications of their genomics-based research.
Genomics research on maize has elucidated the major role that
transposable elements play in accelerating the pace of allelic
diversification. Allelic diversity is the "raw material" for
natural selection; hence, mechanisms that modulate allelic diversity
should play an important evolutionary role. Genomics research is
playing a major role in crop improvement. Because crop improvement and
evolution have been accompanied by dramatic morphological alterations,
crops provide model systems for analyses of the evolutionary and
developmental genetics underlying morphological innovation in nature.
Concomitantly, because many important crops are polyploids, these
crops provide models for analyzing the fate of duplicated genes and
genomes following polyploidy, which is a major force in plant
evolution. Genomic investigations reveal that polyploidy is associated
with novel genomic interactions and molecular genetic mechanisms.
Microarrays represent one of the most important experimental
approaches for discovering the function of genes and have enormous
evolutionary application. We may expect to have extensive data bases
of gene expression information, which in turn will provide insights
into the "ecology of the genome."
Key words: comparative genomics, functional genomics, genomics, microarrays