Phylogenomics is a term with dual meaning, both of which are major research foci in iGEM.
The TimeTree of Life
In this endeavor, iGEM researchers are using phylogenomics to infer the evolutionary timetree of life (the "TimeTree"), which is a fundamental pattern that makes up the basic framework for much of research and discovery in life sciences. It is crucial for understanding the origin and diversity of life and for comparing patterns across disciplines between the tree of life and those in other fields such as the fossil record, Earth history, and medicine. For this reason, iGEM researchers are employing the power of genomics of global knowledge synthesis to build the grand timetree of life.
Gene Family and Adaptations
In this endeavor, iGEM researchers are employing phylogenetic analysis to infer protein function and adaptations in gene families involved in disease and development. The focus is on the evolution of protein sequences, structures, and expression over time and in space.