A new book edited by Pawel Michalak of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute will help scientists understand the mechanisms of speciation around the world. Speciation: Natural Processes, Genetics, and Biodiversity aims to uncover how new species originate, how they change in response to environmental  challenges, and how the latest developments in genomic technology can help researchers better understand those changes.

Understanding speciation could help biologists better manage biodiversity issues that continue to arise as a result of ecosystem stress. It could also explain how and why a species changes over time, aiding scientists in understanding the genes responsible for evolutionary change.


The collection is loosely based on three main themes: “i) relationship between speciation and biodiversity patterns, ii) mechanisms that drive the build-up of reproductive isolation and adaption, and iii) genetics and genomics of speciation.”

“The book gets us closer to solving ‘the mystery of mysteries’, as Charles Darwin called speciation, and sets the scene for new research directions, with recent applications in genomics and bioinformatics playing instrumental roles in the discovery process” – says Pawel Michalak.

The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech is a premier bioinformatics, computational biology, and systems biology research facility that uses transdisciplinary approaches to science combining information technology, biology, and medicine. These approaches are used to interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from basic research to some of today’s key challenges in the biomedical, environmental, and agricultural sciences. With more than 240 highly trained multidisciplinary, international personnel, research at the institute involves collaboration in diverse disciplines such as mathematics, computer science, biology, plant pathology, biochemistry, systems biology, statistics, economics, synthetic biology, and medicine. The large amounts of data generated by this approach are analyzed and interpreted to create new knowledge that is disseminated to the world’s scientific, governmental, and wider communities.


Tiffany L Trent

July 29, 2013