Key interest areas: plant evolutionary genetics; evolution of plant domestication; molecular archaeobotany; molecular anthropology; phylogenomics; software design for population dynamics and molecular evolution.
In my group we are interested in the evolutionary dynamics associated with the plant domestication process on several levels of organization: the gene, the genome, the population and the selective environment in which the population exists. We utilize genetic information directly from both archaeological and modern samples, and develop bioinformatic approaches for high throughput analysis. We also work closely with the archaeology community. Our empirical work is balanced by a theoretical approach, through computational biology, in which we study the complex evolutionary system which gives rise to the patterns of genetic diversity we observe. Using this in vitro and in silico two-pronged approach we wish to answer questions about where crops come from, and how plants such as crops become locally adapted to environmental conditions. Such information may help us in the future to produce crops which are better adapted to a wider range of conditions: the key to a sustainable future is to understand the past.