Mark Gilman is a student in my BI 120 class (Evolution and Man). He is working on a project examining the evolutionary issue known as gene tree-species tree mismatch. This is a problem in which the evolutionary relationships for genes drawn from different organisms does not match the evolutionary relationships of the organisms themselves. The "problem" is found at many genes among humans, chimpanzees and gorillas. For about one third of the genome, the canonical human-chimpanzee close relationship is not supported. For this part of the genome, genes either support a gorilla-human or chimpanzee-gorilla relationship.
Mark is comparing a variety of genes among humans, gorillas and chimpanzees and building gene trees for these genes. To do this he is downloading DNA sequences from the National Database (GenBank) and building evolutionary trees using phylogenetic computer software. Mark will be working to detect how many genes he can find that show varying evolutionary relationships.