Comparative genomics

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Comparative genomics is the field which examines the complex correlations between genomic structure and function by analyzing the structural and functional differences between genomes[1]. As a biological discipline in its own right, comparative genomics is relatively new; much of the work that is currently ongoing in the field would not be possible without the recent technological advances in molecular biology techniques and bioinformatics. In spite of this, studies in comparative genomics have already yielded an unprecedented amount of groundbreaking data on topics ranging from the molecular mechanisms of evolution[2][3][4], to novel mechanisms of gene regulation[5][6][7], and even to the molecular genetics of human diseases[8][9].

The core principle on which comparative genomics rests is the inherent complexity of genomic evolution. Identifying genomic elements that are conserved (that is, do not change significantly) over evolutionary time, and understanding the functional implications of the structural (genetic) changes that do occur, helps researchers to more efficiently identify and characterize functional genomic elements (e.g. genes and regulatory sequences)[10][11][12].


  1. Mushegian (2007). Foundations of Comparative Genomics.
  2. Stern (2010). Evolution, Development, and the Predictable Genome.
  10. Stern (2010). Evolution, Development, and the Predictable Genome.
  11. Mushegian (2007). Foundations of Comparative Genomics.