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Professor Davide Pisani

The application of comparative genomics to investigate key problems in organismal evolution.

My research is at the interface of molecular and organismal biology.  I am interested in the application of comparative genomics (including novel genomic markers - e.g. microRNAs) to investigate key problems in organismal evolution.  Currently addressed problems include early animal evolution and the evolution of  sensorial reception (particularly vision) in early animal evolution.  A major driver of this research line is to understand the factors that caused the animals to radiate only during the Cambrian despite their early (Cryogenian) origins.  Further to that I am interested in the evolution of the Ecdysozoa, particularly the Arthropoda, and the process through which arthropods colonised the land.  Finally, I am extremely interested in early evolution, which underpinned the origin of the major prokaryotic lineages and eukaryogenesis. I am not, however, only interested in comparative genomics; a strong focus of my research group is in the development of novel phylogenetic methods and analytical protocols.  These include  supertree methods, methods to distinguish phylogenetic from non-phylogenetic signals, and approaches to differentiate homologous from homoplastic similarity in morphological data sets.