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Computational comparison of multiple Drosophila genomes proves to be a powerful research tool.
CSAIL's Computational Biology Group led by Manolis Kellis co-led one of the first large-scale comparisons of multiple animal genomes. Results of the project will appear in four papers in Nature, and 40 companion papers in Genome Research, Genetics, Nature Genetics, and other journals.
One of the unique aspects of this project is that it was led by computational scientists, working with dozens of experimental labs to validate and test hypotheses. "Our group at MIT led the discovery effort, the first of its kind and scale, ranging across protein-coding genes, RNA genes, microRNAs, regulatory motifs, and regulatory networks," says CSAIL PI and Broad Institute Associate Member, Manolis Kellis. "By comparing 12 species the fruit fly Drosophila, we were able to discover a tremendous amount about the biology of animal genomes and reveal new insights into their functioning and regulation. The technique of comparing genomes of multiple related species also provides a powerful methodology that could help researchers in the study of other genomes, including that of humans."