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International Journal of Morphology

On-line version ISSN 0717-9502


AVILA, Rodolfo E; SAMAR, María Elena; DIAZ-BELTRAN, Leticia  and  ESTEBAN, Francisco J. The Genome in the Chordates: Introduction to Comparative Genomics. Int. J. Morphol. [online]. 2012, vol.30, n.4, pp.1309-1315. ISSN 0717-9502.

The aim of this paper is to briefly describe concepts of genomics of chordates and comparative genomics and its ethical aspects. The genome of chordates changed slightly resulting in the genome of vertebrates, including mammals. The human being belongs to the phylum chordates. Comparative genomics studies the similarities and differences between genomes of different organisms, trying to explain the information provided by natural selection to understand the function and evolutionary processes that act on genomes. Evolutive processes' complexity is considered a major challenge in terms of analyzing and interpreting all the biological information generated; in this sense, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology provide an enormous range of statistical, mathematical and algorythmical techniques for biological data analyses. A key challenge for bioinformatics is to analyze the flow of DNA sequence data to understand the information stored in terms of structure, function and protein evolution. BLAST and ClustalW2 tools are used for the analysis of multiple sequence alignments in Computational Biology. Genomics is also playing a key role in Medicine; human genome's cartography provides valuable information to detect genes involved in certain diseases. It entails that nowadays it is better to focus on prediction much more than on prevention. The current tendency is that in the future Genomic Medicine will displace Preventive Medicine. The Human Genome Project implies diverse applications that do not have clear legal coverage. This brings a new paradigm with ethical, social and legal problems that the scientific community is trying to resolve in order to combine morality and research progress.

Keywords : Chordates; Genome; Comparative genomic; Genomic medicine; Ethic.

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