- Symbiodinium dinoflagellates in soritid Foraminiferans
- Molecular phylogeny of vertebrates
- Molecular systematics of Foraminifera
- Origin and Evolution of Bats from the West Indian Ocean
- Phylogenomics, micropaleontology, and molecular dating
- Phylogeny and biogeography of an insular endemic moth radiation
- Phylogeny of Zoanthids
- Updating the tree of life: large-scale sequencing of key protist taxa
Molecular phylogeny of vertebrates
I. Biodiversity in the Neotropics
Why do tropical regions of the world harbor the vast majority of earth biodiversity?
This is the ground question underlying our research project on ichthyological diversity in a model neotropical region: the Guianas.
Based on a yearly increasing collection of Neotropical fish tissue samples, held at the Museum of Natural History of Geneva, we are investigating which is the major evolutionary force that drives species diversification in the Guianas. Do species arise by ecological specialization to the many available niches found within a same river basin or do species diversify by population fragmentation as a result of water exchanges between adjacent river basins?
Our investigations are based on the molecular phylogeny and the historical biogeography of selected catfishes belonging to the Loricariidae family. We perform population studies using fast evolving markers at a fine geographical scale.
This work is performed in collaboration with the Museum of Natural History of Geneva, the National Museum of Natural History, Paris and the Anton de Kom University of Suriname.
II. Speciation genes and fast evolving markers
We are developing a new experimental strategy for isolating mRNAs of fast evolving genes in non-model organisms to study diversification and speciation processes. Indeed, all the well documented examples of genes involved in the genetic barrier between closely related species are fast evolving genes undergoing positive selection.
III. Mammalian phylogenomics
In the framework of the international ENCODE (ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements) consortium, and in collaboration with the Division of Medical Genetics of the University of Geneva, we are analyzing 1% of mammalian genomes in order to reconstruct early placental mammals evolution. We are also studying the mode of evolution of coding sequences and non-coding constrained elements of mammalian genomes.
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