Group Leader:

Martin Lascoux

MartinLascouxPortrait I am a professor of population genetics at the Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University. Over a period of five years (2009-2014) I have shared my time between Uppsala and Shanghai where I worked at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (PICB, together with Li Haipeng) and at Fudan University (together with David Waxman).
I primarily work on plant species, and more specifically on forest trees (spruces, birches, larches, poplars) and weeds (Capsella bursa-pastoris and its relatives). I have been working on an array of issues revolving around the interaction of the different evolutionary forces, in particular the interplay between demography and selection in shaping genetic diversity. Lately I have been especially interested in question related to the genetic basis of local adaptation. When addressing evolutionary questions we  are using an array of techniques, including genomics, growth chamber experiments and field experiments. Although not a theoretical population geneticist myself I have  been collaborating closely with some of them over the years.

Publications (Google Scholar)

Guest Researchers:

Sylvain Glémin

Sylvain I’m a research director at the French CNRS and currently visiting researcher at EBC. My works concern theoretical population genetics and evolutionary genomics. I use population genetics modeling and sequence data analyses approaches, mainly in plant species. My current research topics are:
– The evolution of mating systems and their genomic consequences
– The evolution of GC content in plants and the role of GC-biased gene conversion
– The genetic and genomic of plant domestication
– The consequences of life-history traits on molecular evolution


Jun Chen

Jun Chen portraitI have a strong interest in population genetics and molecular evolution.

The last years I have been working on local adaptation  in Norway spruce. We collected population samples from parallele latitudinal clines in Scandinavia, in Russia (along Ob river and Yenisei river). We focused on photoperiodic genes and studied the clinal variation in allele frequency, in gene expression, and in bud-set.  Studies on these three clines tell us that convergent evolution could involve the same group of genes and possibly even the same mutations.
I am also interested in siRNA expression and its regulatory roles in spruce. Conifer trees have a very different expression pattern of siRNA compared to angiosperm species on the dominant role of 21nt siRNA.  This could be related to the “NBS-LRR” gene family, which is one of the largest gene families in spruce and is thought to play an important role in resistant functions.

Pascal Milesi

I did all my studies at the University of Montpellier (South of France) where I obtained a MSc degree in evolutionary biology and ecology. Then, I graduated at the institute for evolutionary biology of Montpellier (ISEM). I studied mosquitoes’ resistance to insecticides, and more specifically the influence of its genomic architecture (mainly gene duplications) on adaptation in relation to environmental variation.

At Uppsala University, I continue to investigate genotype-phenotype relationships in relation to environment but this time at the genomic scale. I am currently involved in four projects. The first project aims to understand what shapes the hybrid zone between P. abies and P. obovata along a longitudinal gradient across the Ural Mountains by investigating local adaptation pattern while correcting for population structure. The goal of the second project –which is part of the Gentree European project — aims to investigate how evolutionary history and local adaptation shaped the genomic variation of seven tree species at the European scale. The objective of the last one is to characterize the genomic variation of the material used to create the P. abies breeding program in Sweden, and use the latter as a common garden experiment to link genotype to phenotype in relation to the ancestral environment from which the trees originate.

Finally, I’m investigating, through a simulation approach, our ability to detect loci underlying quantitative traits leading to phenotypic trade-offs across contrasted environments.

Marion Orsucci

Marion OrsucciDuring my PhD, I worked on host specialization and reproductive isolation in moths species. I have developed a great interest for the study of the role of specialization as a driver in the formation of new species. The aim of my work was to combine (1) experimental approaches (using life history traits measurement) and (2) molecular analyses (especially  gene expression, RNA-seq approach) to understand the biological factors associated to adaptation and speciation and to reconstruct the evolutionary history of populations.

Now as a postdoc, my aims are twofold. First, I continue in the same direction, i.e. I retain a multi-scale approach to detect the presence of selection on quantitative traits (leaf color, rosette size, height plant, number of flowers, etc …) and on expression in 10 species of “Lineage I” of Brassicaceae. Second, I have started to test if the competitive ability of different Capsella bursa-pastoris accessions depends on the density of competitors and if there exist any differences between populations from different geographic areas. The aim is to test whether the loss of genetic diversity and the accumulation of deleterious mutation are associated with a higher  sensitivity to competition.

Maria Guerrina

The information will soon be available

PhD students:

Dmytro Kryvokhyzha

Dmytro Kryvokhyza I obtained my MSc degree doing Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Evolutionary Biology (MEME). I have always been fascinated by hybridization and polyploidy, so almost all my projects deal with these phenomena. I studied diploid-polyploid complexes of spined loaches (Cobitis), incipient hybrid speciation of invasive sculpins (Cottus), and speciation with gene flow in Heliconius butterflies. Currently as my  PhD project, I investigate genomic and phenotypic changes associated with polyploidy and hybrid origin in the allotetraploid weed Capsella bursa-pastoris. I analyze both RNA-Seq and whole genome DNA sequencing data and use the information on variation in major phenotypic traits such as flowering time.

Lili Li

Lili_LiAfter working on the population demographic history of Picea schrenkiana during my Master at Lanzhou University, I continue to study spruce species, but I now mainly focus on the population genetic structure and local adaptation of boreal spruce species. Intraspecific latitudinal clines in genotypes and phenotypes are widely interpreted as basic evidence for natural selection and adaptation to local environment. Two parallel latitudinal clines in gene expression and allele frequency have been detected in Norway spruce (Picea abies) and Siberian spruce (Picea obovata).  However, the coverage of high latitude populations was insufficient in the previous study of Picea obovata. So we added samples from populations higher higher latitudes, to test for clinal variation.

Daniah Tahir

Daniah-TahirI study at the Department of  Mathematics (CIM) where my main supervisor is Ingemar Kaj. My PhD project is “Stochastic Methods in Evolutionary Biology” and it is also co-supervised by Martin Lascoux.
The project revolves around the fact that the fundamental evolutionary forces in nature, such as reproduction, mutation, selection, etc. are regulated by random mechanisms which act over millions of years, and the signatures of these mechanisms are visible today as statistical patterns of variation in genome data. The scientific aims include study of various measures of deviation from neutral evolution with three research directions: 1) The role of non-synonymous and synonymous differences as a signature of selection in gene sequence evolution. 2) The study of random genetic drift occurring in finite structured populations. 3) Research around the genetic architecture of complex traits.

Master students:

Xuyue Yang, 2016. The effect of mating system, ploidy level and range expansion on the sensitivity to competition in Capsella species

Sandra Petrone, 2015. Do mating system and ploidy level affect the sensitivity to competition in Capsella species?

Mimmi Eriksson, 2016-2017 (at Göteborg University): Characterizing the genetic load in Capsella bursa-pastoris across its range.


Visiting and project students:

Ning Weixuan: University of Oulu, June-July 2016.

Johanna Girodolle: 2d year student at SupAgro, Montpellier France, Sept 2016-Dec 2016.

Clémence Monot: 2d year student at ENSAIA, Nancy France, March 2017-June 2017.

Tianlin Duan: Project student,  Uppsala University, March 2017-July 2017.


Krzysztof Bartoszek, Uppsala University

Santiago Gonzalez-Martinez, INRA, Bordeaux

Mattias Jakobsson, Uppsala University

Hanna Johannesson, Uppsala University

Ingemar Kaj, Uppsala University

Haipeng Li, PICB, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai

Jianquan Liu, Sichuan University

Tanja Pyhäjärvi, University of Oulu

Outi Savolainen, University of Oulu

Jarkko Salojärvi, University of Helsinki

Vladimir Semerikov, Russian Academy of Sciences, Ekaterinburg

Mari Mette Tollefsrud, NIBIO, Oslo

Giovanni G Vendramin, CNR, Florence

David Waxman, Fudan University

Stephen Wright, University of Toronto

Lab alumni:

Amandine Cornille, Postdoc, currently postdoc at ETH, Zurich and moving to a CNRS position in 2017.

Michael Stocks, PhD student, currently postdoc at University of Sheffield

Thomas Källman, PhD student and postdoc, currently bioinformatician at BILS, Uppsala University

Karl Holm, PhD student and postdoc, teacher in Hong Kong.

Sofia Hemmilä, PhD student, currently course coordinator at Uppsala University

Tanja Slotte, PhD student, currently Associate Professor at Stockholm University

Padraic Corcoran, MsC, currently postdoc at University of Sheffield.

Per Sjödin, PhD student, currently  Researcher in Mattias Jakobsson’s group at EBC

Johan Fogelqvist, PhD student, currently Researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Marita Kruskopf-Österberg, PhD student

Lars Berg, PhD student

Anna Palmé, PhD student and postdoc, currently Senior Scientist at Nordic Genetic Resource Centre (NordGen)

Hanna Larsson, PhD student, currently teacher in Uppsala

Vladimir Semerikov,  Postdoc, currently researcher, Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Alf Ceplitis, Postdoc, currently oat breeder with Lanmtmännen, Sweden

Laura Parducci, Postdoc, currently Assistant professor Uppsala University

Niclas Gyllenstrand, Postdoc, currently Lab head, Museum of Natural History, Stockholm

Myriam Heuertz,Postdoc, currently Chargé de recherches, INRA-Bordeaux, France

Susanne Gustafsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Ma Xiao-Fei, PI, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, PRC

Yoshiaki Tsuda, Assistant Professor, Sugadaira Montane Research Center
University of Tsukuba,  Japan