Welcome to our lab at the University of Vigo, Spain. We have traditionally focused on the development of practical methods for phylogenetic analysis, but more recently we are also pursuing further interests in the deployment of NGS technologies and their application in the phylogeography and population genomics of marine invertebrates, in particular mollusks. Our current projects are described below.
The evolution of cancer tumors in a body can be likened with the evolution of populations in more or less fragmented habitats. During tumor progression, this population of cells is subject to distinct somatic evolutionary processes like mutation, drift, selection or migration, which can act at different points in time and geographical space. So far evolutionary inferences drawn from cancer genomes have been mostly qualitative. We aim to construct a robust theoretical and methodological evolutionary framework that can contribute to a better understanding of the process of somatic evolution and shed light into the biology of cancer.
Phylogenomic estimation of species trees
The estimation of species trees from genomic data is an open problem that goes beyond concatenating many genes and estimating a single tree, and distinct phenomena can explain the disagreement between gene trees and species history. We are currently working on phylogenetic models of genome evolution able to consider lineage sorting, gene duplication and loss and horizontal gene transfer. At the same time, we are developing a practical computational approach for selecting the best partition for multi-gene data sets (i.e., considering genomic heterogeneity) and comparing distinct phylogenomic strategies.
NGS phylogeography of closely related genomes
Our understanding of the mechanisms of evolution at the genomic level is being transformed by the current explosion of massive sequencing of non-model organisms. Together with Rafael Zardoya and colleagues we are using RNA-seq to obtain a large number of homologous loci from a set of marine snail species, a recent radiation of the genus Trovaoconus endemic from the Cape Verde islands. With Jesus Troncoso at the University of Vigo we are studying different aspects of transcriptomic evolution and using these data to decipher the role of incomplete lineage sorting and gene duplication on the rapid evolution of related genomes. Currently we are focusing in the genus Elysia and Hypselodoris.
We are currently working on the de novo genome and transcriptome sequencing of the marine bivalve Mytilus galloprovincialisusing NGS technologies. Mussel is a very common and commercially important bivalve in the coasts of Galicia and there is a lot of local research around it. This work is done in collaboration with Antonio Figueras and Beatriz Novoa lab at the Institute of Marine Research (CSIC) in Vigo, and with the CNAG in Barcelona.