Welcome to THE Zhang lab

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 next generation sequencing revolution has demonstrated this very clearly in that we are now generating reference genomes at a higher rate 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. We have 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 also interested in the evolution of eusocial insects and behaviors. We have initiated and participated in many comparative genomic studies in eusocial insects and now are focusing on the functional genomic study to understand how the genetic and epigenetic processes regulate the caste development and the behavioural plasticity in eusocial insects.


      • 2016-10-27 The first B10K workshop was held during 27-29th Oct, 2016.
      • 2016-10-06 The study of evolutionary trajectories of snake genes was published on Nat Commun
      • 2016-09-09 China’s first national gene bank, claimed to be the largest of its kind in the world, officially openning today.
      • 2016-06-03 Welcome JiBo to join our team.
      • 2016-05-03Our team has a new member for the assistant.
      • 2015-06-03 We formally announced the initiative of Bird 10K project today on 3rd June 2015. The announcement is published in Nature.
      • 2015-05-18 The study of temporal Dynamics of Avian Populations during Pleistocene Revealed by Whole-Genome Sequences was published on Current Biology. It proved that severe reductions in avian populations coincided with the beginning of the last glacial period.
      • 2015-05-14 The study of genomic signatures of evolutionary transitions from solitary to group living was published on Science.
      • 2015-02-03 The study of Tibetan frog Nanorana parkeri and the comparative evolution of tetrapod genomes was published on PANS. It was the first time to analyse the genome of a modern frog, and provided new clues to research the amphibian evolution.
      • 2015-01-31 The genome paper of polar bears was selected as one of the 2014 Chinese Annual Papers published in Cell.


Cooperation Projects
Bird 10k
  Avian Phylogenmics Project
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