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Are we at an impasse in the resolution of animal phylogeny?

15 Mar 2023 - Mary O'Connell, University of Nottingham, UK | 14h30 - CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão
Are we at an impasse in the resolution of animal phylogeny?

Despite the enormous sequencing efforts of the last number of years, the phylogeny of animals remains unresolved. We will explore how hidden paralogy contributes to this conflict focussing on three nodes, the placement of either Porifera (sponges) or Ctenophora (comb jellies) as the sister to all other animals, the position of the Xenacoelomorphs and the divergence patterns within Amphibia. We will see how the treatment of genomic data for animal phylogenomics impacts on our interpretation of animal evolutionary history and we will see one example of the application of phylogenies to uncovering the molecular underpinnings of phenotypic divergence within vertebrata.

Dr Mary J O’Connell, Ph.D., is currently an Associate Professor of Comparative and Molecular Evolution at the University of Nottingham. Her research is focussed on uncovering the molecular mechanisms that underpin changes in phenotype and function. Her work is computational in nature and involves close collaboration with field, molecular and cellular biologists. She combines phylogenomics, comparative genomics, non-model organism genomics, network theory and most recently machine learning to understanding the molecular underpinnings of major transitions in animal evolution. She is a Fulbright scholar, Fellow of the Linnean Society and a Scientific research associate of the Natural History Museum London.

[Host: Martim Melo, 21st Century Conservation Lab - LACOS21]
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