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How did we get here? Reconstructing the genome of our ancient vertebrate ancestor.

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Genomes as documents of evolutionary history

Our genome and the genomes of other vertebrates have been shaped by ancient evolutionary events that have had a lasting impact on their structure, organisation and function. Recognising and interpreting these events can be harnessed to better understand and diagnose human genetic diseases and also can explain some unusual genome structures in vertebrates. Despite this importance some key questions regarding the number and timing of these early events in vertebrate evolution remain unresolved or disputed. I will talk about how we have learned how to read our genomes as historical documents to reconstruct the ancient genomes and deduce the early events that established the vertebrates in all their beautiful diversity.

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