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 - The eventful settlement history of South Pacific islands
Knowledge about the genetic diversity of human populations is essential to better understanding of overall settlement history and natural selection processes. However, the vast majority of genetic studies focus on populations of European origin, which represent only 16% of the world population. The genomic history of the South Pacific, on the other hand, has hardly been studied. In a new study published in Nature, an international research group led by the Institut Pasteur, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Collège de France has studied the settlement history of the inhabitants of the Pacific islands using genome sequencing. Our laboratory was involved in the demographic and historical inferences of the genomic data, which were analysed mainly with computer software developed in our group. The study, confirms archaeological findings that place human settlement of various islands in Oceania around 40,000 years ago. Furthermore, the scientists were able to prove that a period of genetic isolation between the islands followed this initial settlement.