COMPARATIVE GENOMICS

Using phylogeny to test evolution

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Science  02 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6375, pp. 531-532
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6375.531-d

Sequencing of whole genomes and obtaining information about gene transcription offer the promise to compare changes and variation in gene expression and function across species. However, Dunn et al. show that analyses of gene expression data that use pairwise comparisons across multiple species may not be able to distinguish between differing models of evolution. By examining published studies of how gene expression may change across species, they show that it is necessary to consider the mode of evolution—i.e., duplication generating paralogs or orthologous evolution through speciation—as well as the time since the species diverged. Thus, phylogenetic information is needed to discern commonalities and differences across species and among genes that share an ancestor but may have undergone different evolutionary trajectories.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1707515115 (2018).

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