Nadia El-Mabrouk

Département d'informatique et de recherche opérationnelle (DIRO)


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Despite the remarkable unity of the basic components of the living world (DNA, RNA, the genetic code), we are probably still not aware of the diversity of genome structures nor of the diversity of means genomes use to evolve. In addition to local mutations affecting genome sequences, various global mutations also affect their overall gene order and content: rearrangements, horizontal gene transfer, hybridization, losses, duplications ranging from single genes to the whole genome. By comparing complete or partial genomes it is possible to infer evolutionary scenarios for gene families, gene clusters or entire genomes, and to predict ancestral characteristics. This has important consequences, not only for documenting the evolutionary history of life on earth, but also for answering many fundamental biological questions regarding gene function, adaptation processes and variations on the genetic and physiological specificities of species. Each problem, each type of mutation (or set of mutations), has its own model and gives rise to specific algorithmic, combinatorial, statistical and mathematical developments. Our research projects are related to these computational biology aspects of comparative genomics.