Our main line of research is centered on the discovery of the extent of all kinds of genome variation within phenotypically different genomes. Specifically, we study genome variation (centered on CNVs), gene expression and epigenetic differences in the human species in the context of great ape evolution and other mammalian genomes such as canids. Our goal is to create an integrated view of genome evolution by studying changes in the composition, frequency, size and location at every major branch point of recent human evolution.

Genomic variation in ape genomes

Characterizing the variation of thousands of human genomes is standard today. However, primates (our closest relatives) are the ideal set of species for studying the evolution of these features from both mechanistic and adaptive points of view. In this line of research, we use genomic approaches in humans and primates to understand the impact of variants in the evolution of every species to provide a proper perspective to the differences among species.

Epigenetics and transcriptomics of non-human primates

DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification involved in regulatory processes such as cell differentiation during development, X-chromosome inactivation, genomic imprinting and susceptibility to complex disease. However, the dynamics of DNA methylation changes between humans and their closest relatives is still poorly understood. In this project, we evaluate methylation patterns in recent human evolution. We identified a significant positive relationship between the rate of coding variation and alterations of methylation at the promoter level.

Canid evolution

The domestic dog has been widely recognized as an important organism for studying the relationship between selection, genome variation and phenotypic diversity. Both dogs and wolves have been extensively surveyed using mtDNA, microsatellites and SNPs,  but structural variation, including variation in multicopy gene families, has not been fully characterized in canines.


Lab website: Comparative Genomics Lab

Tomàs Marquès Bonet

Marquès Bonet, Tomàs
ICREA Research Professor
Comparative Genomics Lab

Alejandro Valenzuela Seba

Valenzuela Seba, Alejandro
Predoctoral Researcher
Genómica comparativa

Sandra Ruibal Puertas

Ruibal Puertas, Sandra
Laboratory Technician
Comparative Genomics

Marc Palmada Flores

Palmada Flores, Marc
Predoctoral Researcher
Comparative genomics

Cira Martinez de Pablo

Martinez de Pablo, Cira
Postdoctoral Researcher
Comparative Genomics


Postdoctoral Researcher
Comparative Genomics Lab

Johanna Krueger

Krueger, Johanna
Predoctoral Researcher
Comparative Genomics

David Alejandro Juan Sopeña

Juan Sopeña, David Alejandro
Postdoctoral Researcher
Comparative Genomics Lab

Ventura M, Catacchio CR, Sajjadian S, Vives L, Sudmant PH, Marques-Bonet T, Graves TA, Wilson RK, Eichler EE. 2012. The evolution of African great ape subtelomeric heterochromatin and the fusion of human chromosome 2. Genome Research, 27(9):1621.1-1621.1. DOI:10.1101/gr.226878.117

Scally A, Dutheil JY, Hillier LW, Jordan GE, Goodhead I, Herrero J, Hobolth A, Lappalainen T, Mailund T, Marques-Bonet T, McCarthy S, Montgomery SH, Schwalie PC, Tang YA, Ward MC, Xue Y, Yngvadottir B, Alkan C, Andersen LN, Ayub Q, Ball EV, Beal K, Bradley BJ, Chen Y, Clee CM, Fitzgerald S, Graves TA, Gu Y, Heath P, Heger A, Karakoc E, Kolb-Kokocinski A, Laird GK, Lunter G, Meader S, Mort M, Mullikin JC, Munch K, O'Connor TD, Phillips AD, Prado-Martinez J, Rogers AS, Sajjadian S, Schmidt D, Shaw K, Simpson JT, Stenson PD, Turner DJ, Vigilant L, Vilella AJ, Whitener W, Zhu B, Cooper DN, de Jong P, Dermitzakis ET, Eichler EE, Flicek P, Goldman N, Mundy NI, Ning Z, Odom DT, Ponting CP, Quail MA, Ryder OA, Searle SM, Warren WC, Wilson RK, Schierup MH, Rogers J, Tyler-Smith C, Durbin R. 2012. Insights into hominid evolution from the gorilla genome sequence. Nature, 483(7388):169-175. DOI:10.1038/nature10842

Prüfer K, Munch K, Hellmann I, Akagi K, Miller JR, Walenz B, Koren S, Sutton G, Kodira C, Winer R, Knight JR, Mullikin JC, Meader SJ, Ponting CP, Lunter G, Higashino S, Hobolth A, Dutheil J, Karakoç E, Alkan C, Sajjadian S, Catacchio CR, Ventura M, Marques-Bonet T, Eichler EE, André C, Atencia R, Mugisha L, Junhold J, Patterson N, Siebauer M, Good JM, Fischer A, Ptak SE, Lachmann M, Symer DE, Mailund T, Schierup MH, Andrés AM, Kelso J, Pääbo S. 2012. The bonobo genome compared with the chimpanzee and human genomes. Nature, 486(7404):527-531. DOI:10.1038/nature11128

Garcia-Mas J, Benjak A, Sanseverino W, Bourgeois M, Mir G, González VM, Hénaff E, Câmara F, Cozzuto L, Lowy E, Alioto T, Capella-Gutiérrez S, Blanca J, Cañizares J, Ziarsolo P, Gonzalez-Ibeas D, Rodríguez-Moreno L, Droege M, Du L, Alvarez-Tejado M, Lorente-Galdos B, Melé M, Yang L, Weng Y, Navarro A, Marques-Bonet T, Aranda MA, Nuez F, Picó B, Gabaldón T, Roma G, Guigó R, Casacuberta JM, Arús P, Puigdomènech P. 2012. The genome of melon (Cucumis melo L.). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(29):11872-11877. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1205415109

Ventura M, Catacchio CR, Alkan C, Marques-Bonet T, Sajjadian S, Graves TA, Hormozdiari F, Navarro A, Malig M, Baker C, Lee C, Turner EH, Chen L, Kidd JM, Archidiacono N, Shendure J, Wilson RK, Eichler EE. 2011. Gorilla genome structural variation reveals evolutionary parallelisms with chimpanzee. Genome Research, 21(10):1640-1649. DOI:10.1101/gr.124461.111

Locke DP, Hillier LW, Warren WC, Worley KC, Nazareth LV, Muzny DM, Yang SP, Wang Z, Chinwalla AT, Minx P, Mitreva M, Cook L, Delehaunty KD, Fronick C, Schmidt H, Fulton LA, Fulton RS, Nelson JO, Magrini V, Pohl C, Graves TA, Markovic C, Cree A, Dinh HH, Hume J, Kovar CL, Fowler GR, Lunter G, Meader S, Heger A, Ponting CP, Marques-Bonet T, Alkan C, Chen L, Cheng Z, Kidd JM, Eichler EE, White S, Searle S, Vilella AJ, Chen Y, Flicek P, Ma J, Raney B, Suh B, Burhans R, Herrero J, Haussler D, Faria R, Fernando O, Darré F, Farré D, Gazave E, Oliva M, Navarro A, Roberto R, Capozzi O, Archidiacono N, Della Valle G, Purgato S, Rocchi M, Konkel MK, Walker JA, Ullmer B, Batzer MA, Smit AF, Hubley R, Casola C, Schrider DR, Hahn MW, Quesada V, Puente XS, Ordoñez GR, López-Otín C, Vinar T, Brejova B, Ratan A, Harris RS, Miller W, Kosiol C, Lawson HA, Taliwal V, Martins AL, Siepel A, Roychoudhury A, Ma X, Degenhardt J, Bustamante CD, Gutenkunst RN, Mailund T, Dutheil JY, Hobolth A, Schierup MH, Ryder OA, Yoshinaga Y, de Jong PJ, Weinstock GM, Rogers J, Mardis ER, Gibbs RA, Wilson RK. 2011. Comparative and demographic analysis of orang-utan genomes. Nature, 469(7331):529-533. DOI:10.1038/nature09687

Hurle B, Marques-Bonet T, Antonacci F, Hughes I, Ryan JF; NISC Comparative Sequencing Program, Eichler EE, Ornitz DM, Green ED. 2011. Lineage-specific evolution of the vertebrate Otopetrin gene family revealed by comparative genomic analyses. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 11(1):1-18. DOI:10.1186/1471-2148-11-23

Gazave E, Darré F, Morcillo-Suarez C, Petit-Marty N, Carreño A, Marigorta UM, Ryder OA, Blancher A, Rocchi M, Bosch E, Baker C, Marquès-Bonet T, Eichler EE, Navarro A. 2011. Copy number variation analysis in the great apes reveals species-specific patterns of structural variation. Genome Research, 21(10):1626-1639. DOI:10.1101/gr.117242.110

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