Research to understand the evolutionary and demographic history of domesticated species and their wild ancestors has traditionally been the realm of evolutionary anthropologists and archaeobiologists.
The main goals of this research unit are to (i) assess evolutionary and population history of domesticated and natural populations, (ii) assess worldwide geographic patterns of genetic diversity, (iii) Develop computational applications and databases to store and analyse phenotypic data from the Portuguese Holstein-Frisian population and (iv) develop new statistical and molecular tools to help quantify, manage and conserve genome-wide diversity for germoplasm banks, conservation programs, and domestic animals improvement programs.
As most of the obtained genetic data can be used to develop tools for species identification we also initiated exploratory research on genome mining to develop universal genetic markers that can be used to detect illegal hunting or trafficking of protected and endangered wild and domestic species.
In the next two years, consolidate the use of population genomics methodologies in our research. The arrival of a new generation of sequencing technologies strongly increased the speed of genetic data production. However this giant leap in data production was not paralleled by the development of new computational tools and statistical methodologies to cope with such amount of data.
Thus, it is crucial for our group to get well positioned in this topic.