Yves Van de Peer
As an evolutionary biologist and a bioinformatician, I'm interested in using bioinformatics approaches to study the evolution of organisms, genes and genomes. Regarding genome structure and evolution (which forms a major part of our research), I'm particularly interested in the study of gene and genome duplications as well as in the evolution of novel gene functions after duplication. Gene duplication events have been considered important mechanisms that facilitated the increasing complexity of organisms and also speciation because they might have permitted functional diversification of genes, created complex gene families and generally increased genomic and phenotypic complexity. However, great controversy still exists about how and how fast duplicated genes evolve new functions. Another point of discussion is whether most gene duplications are the result of local (e.g., tandem) gene duplications or of large-scale gene or even entire genome duplication events. Although the number of sequence data that can provide us with answers to the questions raised above increases at a fast rate, the interpretation of the data and mapping and interpreting (large scale) gene duplication events remains often difficult. For example, typically, developmental control genes belong to multigene families and, more often than not, the evolutionary relationships within these gene families in comparative developmental studies are unknown and potentially complex. Also the elucidation of the exact relationships between gene family members therefore forms part of our research. For a more comprehensive overview of my research interests, I'd like to point to our research section.
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