Although it is widely believed that early vertebrate evolution was shaped by ancient whole-genome duplications, the number, timing and mechanism of these events remain elusive. This talk will describe how chromosome-level comparisons of the genomes of living vertebrates shed light on the evolutionary trajectories of the earliest vertebrates that lived nearly half a billion years ago. 

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Daniel Rokhsar
University of California, Berkeley; Okinawa Institute of Sciences and Technology; US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute

Dan Rokhsar is the Marthella Foskett Brown Professor of Computational Biology in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at Berkeley, a Visiting Adjunct Professor of Molecular Genetics at OIST in Okinawa, and leads the computational genomics group at the DOE JGI. Rokhsar’s research is focused on understanding the origin, evolution, and diversification of plants and animals by combining computational genome analysis with comparative developmental biology. He earned his Ph.D. at Cornell University in theoretical physics and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at I.B.M. Watson Research Center before joining the physics faculty at Berkeley. In the mid 1990s his research interests shifted from materials physics to molecular biology, genomics, and evolution. In 2001 Dr. Rokhsar founded the computational genomics program at the Department of Energy's genome center, contributing to the sequencing and analysis of the human genome. He has led the sequencing of dozens of plants and animals and developed and applied comparative methods for using these sequences to discover mechanisms of genome and organismal evolution. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Dovetail Genomics.

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