We study the DNA molecule using computational and biochemical methods. Our research activity spans from the computational prediction of alternative DNA structures to the history of animal populations. We also develop molecular diagnostic systems and databases for biological identifications at different levels.
Molecular diagnostics and species identification
Our aim is to develop reliable and cost-effective methods for broad spectrum biological identification that are appropriate for use in suboptimal samples and are amenable to different high-throughput genotyping platforms. We also develop molecular kits to be used for characterization of domestic breeds and fraud detection in processed food products.
Non-B DNA conformations, genomic rearrangements and disease
Our main objective is to understand how such high-order DNA and RNA structures are formed in vitro and what is their role in genome organization, instability and evolution. We mainly focus on two models systems: mitochondrial and viral genomes. In particular, animal mtDNA and RNA viruses have in common a high mutation rate, short genomes, large number of available sequences and frequent genomic rearrangements.
Genetic analysis of animal domestication
Our aim is to decipher the origin and subsequent movements of animal pastoralism in different world regions, with emphasis on Southern Europe and Northern Africa. We use data from mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), Y chromosome and insertionally polymorphic endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) for the investigation of biodiversity, and the characterization of animal genetic resources.