Seminar "Mutation, divergence and novel phenotypes in rodents and reptiles" by Dr. Adam Hargreaves
How alterations in genomes give rise to novel phenotypes is a key question in evolutionary biology. The duplication, mutation and diversification of genes (in both their coding sequence and also their regulation) can have both beneficial and negative effects, often manifesting in unusual ways. Knowledge of how these evolutionary processes occur and what causes them can help us understand how species adapt or become constrained to their environment, how evolutionary innovations arise, and also may aid in the development of new pharmaceutical treatments. The rapid advancement of DNA sequencing technologies now allows us to explore these questions. Examples of past and ongoing projects focused on highly divergent ParaHox genes in gerbil genomes and the evolution of snake venom toxin genes will be discussed.