ERC Starting Grant awarded to head of Momentum Research Group

The primary aim of Gergely Szöllősi, head of the MTA-ELTE Lendület (Momentum) Evolutionary Genomics Research Group is to formulate methods that can help establish a dated reconstruction of the “tree of life” based on genetic data for the very first time. The physicist was granted 1.45 million euros for a five year period beginning from the summer of 2017.

3 December, 2016

“With the emergence of genetic sequencing, molecular phylogenetics which reconstructs gene trees from related sequences hit a brick wall. Instead of answering unresolved questions, the exploration of new genomes has added fuel to old debates. It is clear that gene trees are not species trees, but each gene tree is a unique consequence of a sequence of evolutionary events. At the same time, if their differences are modeled in the context of a common species tree, we can access the unbelievably rich information about genetic evolution and species diversification, which cannot be obtained through traditional methods. Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) could happen between species that existed at the same time, i.e. this carries information on the time sequence of species formation” – stated the young researcher.