Welcome to the Population and Conservation Genetics group website
The Population and Conservation Genetics Group (PCG) is located in Oeiras, a small sea-side town 20 minutes by train from downtown Lisbon, Portugal. It is part of the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência.
The PCG carries out research in the area of population genetics with a focus on conservation and human population genetics. In particular we are interested in understanding the statistical properties of genetic data in natural or managed populations/breeds in order to determine when and how genetic data can be used to make statements about the populations recent evolutionary history. Our work involves field and lab work together with data analysis and computer simulations.
Genetic data can be used to reconstruct the recent demographic history of populations and species to identify key features of that history. For instance genetic data can be used to detect, quantify and date past population size changes such as collapses and expansions. Admixture events whereby two or more populations "mix" to create new populations can also be analysed quantitatively. Since most of our work is related to the demographic history of populations, our main focus is on neutral markers but the identification of genetic markers under selection is also of great interest for the group. The research carried out in the group goes also beyond the application of existing method. We are also interested in testing such methods (under which conditions are the methods that we use able to provide reasonable answers) and in developing new methods more adapted to our needs. We have applied these methods to a wide range of species but in the last few years our main focus has been on endangered species from Madagascar and Borneo, and, for human populations, on the Neolithic transition.