On the last page of The Origin of Species, Darwin writes that there is grandeur in the view that all of life had a single beginning from which evolved endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful. In the over 150 years that passed, biology has made tremendous progress understanding the pathways and molecular processes behind the diversification of the life forms, and evolution’s fundamental genetic mechanisms that Darwin was unaware of became firmly established via the Neodarwinian synthesis in the first half of the 20th century. The second half of the 20th century added all aspects of social evolution to the Neodarwinian synthesis after W.D. Hamilton developed inclusive fitness theory in the 1960s and 1970s.
In spite of these major developments we continue to know very little about the fundamental molecular processes that produce adapted phenotypes in response to variation in the physical and social environment of organisms. The fast development of genomic sequencing technology has boosted the biodiversity genomes study that we can study how these blueprints translate in responses to natural selection, the adaptations arising from these responses, and the ultimate diversification and speciation processes that may or may not follow.
Our group has developed and applied comparative genomic tools on high throughput ‘-omics’ data to address the classical questions of diversification, adaptation and speciation across a broad spectrum of organisms. Our group is leading several big international genomic initiations, including B10K project, Global Ant Genomic Alliance project, Primate genome project, and ruminant genome project.
There are three main research themes in my current group. The first one is the phylogenomics, which aims to use full genome data to resolve the fundamental tree of life question. Based on the first themes, my group also uses comparative genomic tools to understand the molecular mechanisms of animal evolution and adaptation. The third theme focuses on the behavior genetics using social insects as model.
From Feb. 2022, Guojie Zhang's group moved to Zhejiang University of Copenhagen
Primary fields of research
- Phylogenomics and tree of life
- Genome evolution and animal adaptation
- Functional genomics on social animals