$1.1 million grant goes to professors
University of New Mexico School of Engineering professors Bernard Moret of Computer Science and David Bader of Electrical and Computer Engineering have received more than $1 million in grants this fall from the National Science Foundation for research in reconstructing evolutionary “trees.”
The $1.1 million is broken up into three grants for different aspects of the project.
The research is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin.
Phylogeny, or an evolutionary “tree,” reconstructs the evolutionary history of modern organisms from unknown ancestral organisms through the process of bifurcation, in which an ancestral species gives rise to two new species.
The reconstructions are based on molecular data such as DNA sequences collected from modern species and on a hypothesized model of evolution.
Moret said the work tracks the spread of strains of the HIV virus and agricultural labs use the information to produce better strains of basic foods such as rice or wheat.