Lines of Research

The general topics that interest us revolve around the genomics in the study levels that go from the individual to the population. We want to address questions about the individuals, their identities, their phenotypes, and their genomes. Or about groups of individuals connected by shallow or deep genealogical links marked by their surnames or their Y chromosomes. Or about populations, their history, and their interaction as revealed by the bits and pieces of their genomes they have exchanged, never forgetting that these exchanges involved actual people, communicating with their languages and moving with the flow of history.

This vision is currently implemented  in two main projects:

  • Different male lineages marked by Y-chromosome haplogroups have rapidly grown in many places and in many (pre)historic times. We are interested in characterizing phylogeoghraphically two such haplogroups: R1b-DF27, carried by >40% of men in the Iberian Peninsula and rarer elsewhere, and E-M81, again much more frequent in NW Africa than elsewhere. We plan also to explore which demographic regimes could have led these local expansions. This project is carried out in collaboration with Marian Martínez de Pancorbo (Universidad del País Vasco) and David Comas here at IBE (CSIC-UPF).
  • We are interested in characterizing the genetic structure, at a fine geographical and genomic scale, of the Western Mediterranean, defined as Iberia, France, the Italian Peninsula, the Maghreb, and the islands in the W Mediterranean basin. For that, we use genomewide SNP arrays in >400 samples we have gathered from several regions in Iberia and France, as well as in the Balearic Islands, which will be merged with SNP sets from Italian regions (provided by Giuseppe Matullo, Turin) and NW Africa (David Comas, IBE). The main goals of these project are i) to characterize the genetic structure of the area, ii) estimate gene flow within populations in the area and from external sources such as the Middle East and the East European steppe by means of the current methods that allow tracking the exchange of haplotypes between individuals and populations, and iii) in particular,  investigate the Balearic islands, which may be prone to founder effects and subsequent drift.