Our research is directed toward elucidating the evolution of bacterial genomes, including their size, composition, variability and organization. In other words, why do genomes have the genes that they do? An understanding of the evolutionary process that leads to differences in genomes will shed light on how species themselves differentiate. We take two approaches to understanding how genomes evolve : a computation/theoretical approach, and an experimental approach.

Experimental approaches.

The enteric bacteria provide a set of well characterized species with notable structural and biochemical differences. The variable genetic components of these species provide a record of the current and historical selective influences leading to speciation. Several ongoing projects are addressing substantial metabolic differences among closely enteric bacteria, each focusing on a different process affecting genome composition.

Computational Approaches.

We also use bioinformatic approaches to glean evolutionary histories from bacterial genome data. Some of the questions currently being examined include the following:
Genomic Flux in E. coli

Last Updated 14 August 2006, by JG Lawrence