I am an evolutionary biologist using microbial genome and gene expression data to answer fundamental evolutionary questions and to understand microbial diversity better. I am originally from New Zealand and currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), in Germany. Prior to this I was a junior group leader at the chair of Microbial Ecology at the Technical University of Munich, and later this year I will move to the Wellcome Sanger Institute as a postdoctoral fellow. My published articles and preprints can be found here.

I warmly welcome opportunities to peer-review papers on microbial evolutionary genomics, de novo gene origins, experimental evolution, bacterial ribosome profiling or prokaryotic gene annotation. I am also a reviewing editor for the new Cambridge University Press open access journal “Experimental Results”.

I can be contacted at ‘[firstinitial].[lastname]@gmail.com“, or via the information here, and I’m also on twitter @zachary_ardern.

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Microbial Evolutionary Genomics

How many protein-coding genes are there in bacterial cells?  How did they get there?  What is the evolutionary history of young genes?

Along with colleagues working across the experiment-theory spectrum I am using computational methods to uncover the unexpected complexity of the bacterial genome, exploring a crucial question in evolutionary biology: how does evolutionary novelty arise? In particular I am interested in overlapping genes, and am developing methods for detecting and characterizing them in prokaryotes. We have also applied the same methods in viruses, for instance in SARS-CoV-2

Overlapping genes and gene origins – SARS-CoV-2

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