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Population Genetics CMPG Lab


Prof. Laurent Excoffier (Head)

Prof. Laurent Excoffier


Institute of Ecology and Evolution
University of Bern
Baltzerstrasse 6
CH-3012 Bern

Phone: +41 31 631 30 31
Email: laurent.excoffier(at)iee.unibe.ch

Curriculum vitae

 2015-18 Guest Professor, National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Japan
 2012-14 Director of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Berne
 2011 Visiting Professor, Hospital Ste-Justine, University of Montreal, Canada
 2008- Group leader at the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB)
 2007- Guest Professor, Center for Computational and Evolutionary Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
 06-08 Head of Biology Department, University of Berne
 2001- Professor of Population Genetics, University of Berne
 95-01 Maître d'Enseignement et de Recherche, Dept.of Anthropology, University of Geneva
 91-95 Maître assistant, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Geneva  
 90-91 Post-doc, Center for Theoretical and Applied Genetics, Rutgers University
 89-90 Associate professor, Dept. of Biological Anthropology, Musée de l'Homme, Paris.
 88-89 Assistant, Dept.of Anthropology, University of Geneva  
 83-88 Ph.D. studies, Dept.of Anthropology, University of Geneva  
 85-86 Certificate in Numerical Computing, University of Geneva  
 79-83 Biology undergraduate studies, University of Geneva  

Research interests

I am interested in the development of computational methods to understand evolutionary processes at the population and species level, for instance to study how past climatic and environmental changes have influenced the pattern of genetic diversity of a given species, or to detect evidence of local adaptations from genomic information.

I have been recently studying the effect of complex demography on the molecular genetic diversity of a species, for instance such as after a spatial expansion in a heterogeneous environment. I am therefore investigating how various  aspects of its genetic diversity are influenced by historical and spatial constraints, and how these effects contrast with those of selection. We are thus aiming at designing better tests of selective neutrality, taking into account the potentially complex demographic history of a species.

I am also involved in the development  and the application of approximate Bayesian computations (ABC) methods, which rely on massive computer simulations, to reconstruct the past demography of a species from its genetic diversity, and to test among various alternative evolutionary scenarios. We hope to extend this approach  to estimate patterns and intensities of selection at the genomic level. These developments should be applied to modern humans and common voles, or other invasive species.

I am also participating to the analysis of gene expression data in various fish species, with the aim to detect genes involved in the control of life history traits (brown trout) or in susceptibility to diseases (white fish).

I am finally devoting quite a lot of time to the maintenance and extension of various computer programs listed here, including a new version (3.5) of the program Arlequin for the analysis of population genetics data.

Selected publications

Journal articles
  1. Daub JT, Dupanloup I Robinson-Rechavi M & Excoffier L (2015) Inference of evolutionary forces acting on human biological pathways. Genome Biology and Evolution 7: 1546–1558 [Abstract and pdf]
  2. Peischl S & Excoffier L (2015) Expansion load: recessive mutations and the role of standing genetic variation. Molecular Ecology 24: 2084-2094 [Abstract and pdf]
  3. Peischl S, Kirkpatrick M & Excoffier L (2015) Expansion load and the evolutionary dynamics of a species range. American Naturalist 185: E81-E93 [Abstract and pdf]
  4. Schubert M, Jonsson H, Chang D, Der Sarkissian C, Ermini L, Ginolhac A, Albrechtsen A, Dupanloup I, Foucal A, Petersen B, Fumagalli M & et al. (2014) Prehistoric genomes reveal the genetic foundation and cost of horse domestication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 111(52): E5661-9
  5. Perry GH, Foll M, Grenier JC, Patin E, Nedelec Y, Pacis A, Barakatt M, Gravel S, Xiang Zhou, Nsobya S, Excoffier L, Quintana-Murci L, Dominy NJ & Barreiro LB (2014) Adaptive, convergent origins of the pygmy phenotype in African rainforest hunter-gatherers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 111: E3596-3603 [Abstract and pdf]
  6. Foll M, Gaggiotti O, Daub JT, Vatsiou A & Excoffier L (2014) Widespread Signals of Convergent Adaptation to High Altitude in Asia and America. American Journal of Human Genetics 95: 394–407 [Abstract and pdf]
  7. Sousa V , Peischl S & Excoffier L (2014) Impact of range expansions on current human genomic diversity. Current Opinion in Genetics and Development 29: 22-30 [Abstract]
  8. Excoffier L, Dupanloup I, Huerta-Sanchez E, Sousa VC & Foll M (2013) Robust demographic inference from genomic and SNP data. PLOS Genetics 9: e1003905 [Abstract and pdf]
  9. Peischl S, Dupanloup I, Kirkpatrick M & Excoffier L (2013) On the accumulation of deleterious mutations during range expansions. Molecular Ecology 22: 5972-5982 [Abstract and pdf]
  10. Daub JT, Hofer T, Cutivet E, Dupanloup I, Quintana-Murci L, Robinson-Rechavi M & Excoffier L (2013) Evidence for Polygenic Adaptation to Pathogens in the Human Genome Molecular Biology And Evolution 30 (7): 1544-1558 [Abstract]
  11. Arenas M, Francois O, Currat M, Ray N & Excoffier L (2013) Influence of Admixture and Paleolithic Range Contractions on Current European Diversity Gradients. Molecular Biology and Evolution 30: 57-61 [Abstract and pdf]
  12. Reich D, Patterson N, Campbell D, Tandon A, Mazieres S, Ray N, Parra MV, Rojas W, DuqueMesa N, Velez ID, Garcia L F & et al. (2012) Reconstructing Native American population history. Nature 488 : 370-374 [Abstract and pdf]
  13. Slatkin M & Excoffier L (2012) Serial Founder Effects During Range Expansion: A Spatial Analog of Genetic Drift. Genetics 191: 171-181 [Abstract and pdf]
  14. Alves I, Sramkova Hanulova A, Foll M & Excoffier L (2012) Genomic data reveals a complex making of humans. PLoS Genetics 8: e1002837 [Abstract and pdf]
  15. Hofer T, Foll M & Excoffier L (2012) Evolutionary Forces shaping genomic Islands of Population Differentiation in Humans. BMC Genomics 13: 107 [Abstract and pdf]
  16. Arenas M, Ray N, Currat M & Excoffier L (2012) Consequences of Range Contractions and Range Shifts on Molecular Diversity. Molecular Biology and Evolution 29: 207-218 [Abstract and pdf]
  17. Moreau C, Bherer C, Vezina H, Jomphe M, Labuda D & Excoffier L (2011) Deep Human Genealogies Reveal a Selective Advantage to Be on an Expanding Wave Front. Science 334: 1148-1150 [Abstract and pdf]
  18. Currat M & Excoffier L (2011) Strong reproductive isolation between humans and Neanderthals inferred from observed patterns of introgression. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 108: 15129-34 [Abstract and pdf]
  19. Excoffier L, Foll M & Petit RJ (2009) Genetic Consequences of Range Expansions. Annual Review in Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 40: 481-501 [Abstract and pdf]
  20. Petit RJ & Excoffier L (2009) Gene flow and species delimitation . Trends in Ecology and Evolution 24: 386-93 [Abstract and pdf]
  21. Excoffier L & Ray N (2008) Surfing during population expansions promotes genetic revolutions and structuration. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 23(7): 347-351 [Abstract and pdf]
  22. Fagundes N J R, Ray N, Beaumont M, Neuenschwander S, Salzano F M, Bonatto S L & Excoffier L (2007) Statistical evaluation of alternative models of human evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 104: 17614-17619 [Abstract]
  23. Excoffier L & Heckel G (2006) Computer programs for population genetics data analysis: a survival guide. Nature Reviews Genetics 7: 745-758 [Abstract]
  24. Currat M, Excoffier L, Maddison W, Otto SP, Ray N, Whitlock MC & Yeaman S (2006) Comment on 'Ongoing Adaptive Evolution of ASPM, a Brain Size Determinant in Homo sapiens' and 'Microcephalin, a Gene Regulating Brain Size, Continues to Evolve Adaptively in Humans'. Science 313(5784): 172 [pdf]
  25. Ray N, Currat M, Berthier P & Excoffier L (2005) Recovering the geographic origin of early modern humans by realistic and spatially explicit simulations. Genome Research 15(8): 1161-7 [Abstract and pdf]
  26. Hamilton G, Stoneking M & Excoffier L (2005) Molecular analysis reveals tighter social regulation of immigration in patrilocal populations than in matrilocal populations. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 102(21): 7476-80 [Abstract and pdf]
  27. Currat M & Excoffier L (2004) Modern humans did not admix with Neanderthals during their range expansion into Europe. PLoS Biology 2(12): 2264-2274 [Abstract and pdf]

Full list of publications

University of Bern | Institute of Ecology and Evolution | Baltzerstrasse 6 | CH-3012 Bern | Tel +41 31 631 45 11 (Secr)
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