Computational Biology Seminar Series for Undergraduates

Sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences and the Center for Computation & Technology

Putting Together Genomic Jigsaw Puzzles and Decoding the Messages in a Genome


Today’s Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies have revolutionized the field of genetics by providing ways to explore the genetic code of any organism. Novel genomes allow novel ways of discovering and interpreting the genetic mechanisms underlying physiological and evolutionary processes. Insight gained from such processes will be needed in the development of crops in sustainable agriculture, biotechnology applications, drug discovery, and effective conservation strategies, especially in the face of climate change, overpopulation, and increasing demand for food and bioenergy crops. However, understanding the messages embedded in genomes continue to be a complex challenge. The challenge begins with first putting together a massive number of DNA sequences into a complex genomic jigsaw puzzle and then trying to decode the common and unique messages written in each genome. Assembling genomes, interpreting functional units, and comparing to other known genomes require massive computational power and new computational tools that are rapidly evolving in the field of genomics. In this talk I will use a plant genome of a wild relative of several crop species and discuss how we have assembled its genome and now trying to understand the unique message it carries about its past and present.

Maheshi Dassanayake

LSU Department of Biological Sciences

Assistant Professor