skip to content

Welcome to the Wiehe Group

Bioinformatics & Population Genetics

Research topics

Our main focus currently lies on investigating the evolutionary trajectory of multi-copy gene families.
We are using mathematical models to simulate recombination and compare the results with published data. Moreover, we apply bioinformatical methods to analyze our own sequencing data.
In particular, we are interested in copy number and sequence variation of the gene copies within and between wild and laboratory-held populations.
The gene families we are currently working on are olfactory receptors from beetles as well as nucleotide-binding, leucine-rich repeat containing genes (NLRs) from zebrafishes and plants.
Our goal is to elucidate the genetic and evolutionary mechanisms which confer the emergence and the development of such multi-copy gene families.

Some multi-gene families (e.g. sensory receptor or immune genes) appear in a tandemly arrayed shape. Unequal recombination may alter the number of gene copies and their alleles (encoded as different colours in the figure above). Considering a fitness function that decreases with copy number and increases with allelic diversity, one can determine the effects of selection strength, recombination rate, population size changes and migration.