The goal of comparative genomics is to gain a better understanding about how genomes evolve: How is variation created and how does this variation help adaptation? Besides this essential evolutionary question, comparative genomics can also be used as a tool to predict function within the vast landscape that is our genome and thus leads to practical applications in many fields of molecular biology.
More specifically, we are interested in i) comparative primate, ii) population and iii) cancer genomics. In comparative primate genomics, we compare genomes across the primate phylogeny, in population genetics we analyse genetic data of different individuals from the same population and in cancer genomics, we are interested in the genetic diversity across somatic cells from the same individual. To learn more about the modes of evolution acting on the genome, we integrate this genomic information about between and within species or individual diversity with functional data, such as gene expression levels or chromatin states.
Analyses in comparative genomics primarily rely on bioinformatics and statistical methods. We use a Linux cluster to analyse large Next Generation Sequencing data sets. This expertise leads to many collaborations as
Parekh, S., Ziegenhain, C., Vieth, B., Enard, W., and Hellmann, I. (2016). The impact of amplification on differential expression analyses by RNA-seq. Scientific Reports 6, Article number:25533. http://www.nature.com/articles/srep25533
Huber, C., DeGiogio, M., Hellmann, I. and Nielsen, R. (2015). Detecting recent selective sweeps while controlling for mutation rate and background selection. Mol Ecol. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mec.13351/abstract
Huber, C.D., Nordborg, M., Hermisson, J., and Hellmann, I. (2014). Keeping it Local: Evidence for Positive Selection in Swedish Arabidopsis thaliana. Molecular biology and evolution. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25158800
Johnson, P.L., and Hellmann, I. (2011). Mutation rate distribution inferred from coincident SNPs and coincident substitutions. Genome Biol Evol 3, 842-850, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21572094.
Nielsen, R., Hellmann, I., Hubisz, M., Bustamante, C., and Clark, A.G. (2007). Recent and ongoing selection in the human genome. Nat Rev Genet 8, 857-868, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17943193.