John Hawkins' analysis of bat genomes appeared in the June 4 edition of the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Hawkins is an alumnus of the Oden Institute's CSEM program and currently a postdoctoral researcher with Oden Institute Professor William Press, who collaborated on the research.
The research represents a large, order-wide evolutionary analysis of the bat order Chiroptera.
"Our pipeline for assembling sequence data and curating orthologous multiple sequence alignments includes methods for improving results when combining genomic and transcriptomic data sources," the paper said.
"The resulting phylogenetic tree divides the order Chiroptera into Yinpterochiroptera and Yangochiroptera, in disagreement with the previous division into Megachiroptera and Microchiroptera and in agreement with some other recent molecular studies, and also provides evidence for other contested branch placements," the paper said in noting the significance of the work.
"We also performed a genome-wide analysis of positive selection and found 181 genes with signatures of positive selection. Enrichment analysis shows these positively selected genes to be primarily related to immune responses but also, surprisingly, collagen formation."