Andrey Grigoriev


I am interested in many different facets of biological evolution. I am bedazzled by the nature's inventions and opportunistic tricks, its voices and colors. In computational biology, however, we can primarily observe it through the evolution of sequences.

In a simplistic comparison of such sequences with texts considered sacred one can imagine how much did the copiers of those texts (say, individual monks) mess up with their content, rewriting them at every opportunity. It is tempting to think it happened at will of those in power (and also at the monks' own will) and draw parallels with mutation and selection. However, it is often hard to tell someone's will from an accident. What you see is what has survived. Thus the study of evolution becomes an excercise in untangling these events and their governing principles.

Various biological processes, including such fundamental ones as replication and transcription, affect the sequences they are reproducing, similarly to those monks. What is left to witness are the results of their scribbles and re-scribbles of the same passages many times over. These days we call them "reference genomes".

And the "monks" keep on scribbling...

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