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Evolutionary Genetics - EG
Evolutionary Genomics and Bioinformatics

Bárbara Parreira

External Collaborator

I conducted my Ph.D. at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC, Oeiras, Portugal) and received my degree from the University of Lisbon in 2016 and I was then a postdoctoral researcher at Lounès Chikhi’s lab (Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência). Currently, I am a postdoc researcher in population genetics and evolutionary biology aiming to address biological questions arising in the fields of conservation and epidemiology.

My main research interests lie in understanding the influence of population structure to the neutral distribution of genetic diversity within individuals, populations and species. My work is interdisciplinary and integrates population genetics theory, modeling, statistics and data analysis. I have been developing individual-based modeling tools to simulate genetic data under highly structured populations, and I have applied it to different organisms (e.g. lemurs) in order to understand and quantify the importance of social structure in the genetic/ genotypic diversity of species. This work has shown, for instance that species subdivided in social groups maintain high levels of genotypic diversity (at the individual level) without the need for inbreeding-avoidance mechanisms.

I am currently very interested in developing methods to obtain gene trees under highly complex models (which deviate from the assumptions of classical population genetics’ models, e.g. including social groups, mating systems), such as species characterized by long life-spans, slow life-histories (overlapping of generations) and high reproductive skew. The deviation from the main assumptions of classical population genetic models may impose large bias in particular when inferring the demographic history of species (e.g. population declines and expansions). Understanding the genetic signatures of social structure is thus important to correctly infer demographic parameters in many social species which are also endangered.



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