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.
Nature - A genomic history of Aboriginal Australia
It remains debated how Australia was initially populated and how changes in language and culture in the continent happened. Australia contains some of the oldest archaeological evidence of modern humans outside Africa dating back to about 50,000 years. Still about 90% of Aboriginal Australians speak languages belonging to a single linguistic family that dates back no more than a few thousand years. The first population genomic study on Aboriginal Australians published today in Nature provide some of the answers. This study has been conducted by a group of international researchers, including nine Aboriginal leaders. It has been led by Prof. Eske Willerslev from the Copenhagen-based Centre for GeoGenetics, Cambridge University and the Sanger Institute. Assistant Prof. Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas, Prof. Laurent Excoffier and his team from the University of Bern and the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics are part of the study.