People in the Computational and Molecular Population Genetics (CMPG) lab use molecular techniques, theoretical developments, and computer simulations to reconstruct the demographic history of populations and species from genetic data, and to test between alternative evolutionary scenarios.
We explore the genomic diversity of voles and humans in order to discover which genes have recently responded to selection, for instance to adapt to new environments.
We are also interested in quantifying the effect of range expansions and colonisation processes on genetic diversity, since these demographic events can lead to molecular signatures resembling those of selection.
We also develop and maintain computer programs to study and simulate the genetic diversity of populations, infer demographic parameters under complex scenarios, and detect loci under selection from genome scan.
The CMPG lab is affiliated to the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics.
PLoS Genetics - Mutation load dynamics during environmentally-driven range shifts
Kim Gilbert et al. have recently shown the consequences of range shifts on the accumulation of mutation load during spread across landscapes. As environments change, specialist species are expected to track the optimal environment they are adapted to, while generalist species are expected to spread widely. During this spread, individuals are subject to the additional challenge of accumulating deleterious alleles during repeated bottlenecks. We show that the process by which these alleles accumulate changes depending upon the speed at which populations spread over a landscape due to the combination of the efficacy of selection and the input of mutations into the population. These results suggest that the rate of environmental change across the globe will play a large role in the survival of specialist species.