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.
Population data from Quebec reveals the genetic consequences of rapid human expansions
The majority of the 6.5 million French Canadians living in Quebec today can trace their heritage to just 8500 settlers who formed clusters around the Saint Lawrence River in the early 17th century. Most remained near those riverside settlements until 200 years later, when some began colonizing more remote regions. Despite their shared heritage, the descendants of those who stayed near the river and those who moved on are already genetically divergent, and for unknown reasons, those living in more recently colonized areas of Quebec have a higher prevalence of recessive genetic disorders.