BAT LAB – Days 7 and 8 – Phylogenetics

FUN FACT – The smallest bat is the Kitti’s Hog-Nosed bat which is also called the Bumblebee bat.

Over the past 2 days, Graham (with endless patience, thanks Graham)  has introduced us to the exciting world of Phylogenetics.  This is the area of Science where molecular sequencing data matrices and morphological data matrices are used to study the evolutionary relatedness between different groups of organisms. The goal  was to build a Phylogenetic Tree!!

Challenge accepted !!

Thankfully these are a variety of computer programmes that can carry out the steps required to achieve the end result amazingly quickly.  After BLASTING  on Day 6, the next task was Sequence Alignment where sequences of DNA are arranged in a way that allows for similar regions to be identified. These similar regions may be due to the evolutionary relatedness between the sequences. We chose to look at cytochrome b in five different species of bat. To carry out the alignment, we used a programme called Clustal X2.

Results from Alignment using Clustal X2

Results from Alignment using Clustal X2

Once this alignment was complete, it was time to use another programme called Mega to build our Phylogenetic Tree. Phylogenetic TreeThe tree shows the inferred evolutionary relationships between species. Challenge completed.

In reality however, it is more complex and much thought is required when selecting the sequences that should be included and much knowledge is required to meaningfully interpret the results once the tree has been drawn.

In the afternoon, we had a chance to sit with Prof. Teeling to talk about bats as a novel model for sensory driven speciation.

Olivia and I also had a good chat about our TY project plan.

Yet another great day in the BAT LAB. Thanks everyone.

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