Comparative genomics is the analysis and comparison of genes and genomes from different species. Comparisons among evolutionarily related species can often help to identify functionally important and evolutionarily conserved genes or regulatory elements. In addition to protein and DNA sequences, comparative analysis can be also extended to gene expression profiles, protein-protein interactions, genetic interactions and regulatory interactions, which in turn help us understand the origin, evolution and importance of these important cellular interactions.
In contrast to inter-species comparisons, population genomics compares the gene and genome sequences, gene expression or regulation among individuals within a population of the same species. For example, population genomics allows us to determine the level of genetic heterogeneity (variation) in the human population, and how such genetic variation correlates with both gross and molecular phenotypes.
In this course, we will introduce the concepts, computational and experimental methods, databases and tools that are used in comparative and population genetics. The course will be a mixture of lectures and student presentations, where classical and contemporary papers will be discussed.