What we do

At the interface of biology and computer science, we seek to better understand evolutionary and functional relationships between genes, genomes and species. Key underlying questions are:

  1. How can we extrapolate current biological knowledge, concentrated in a few model organisms, to the rest of life?
  2. Conversely, how can we exploit the wealth and diversity of life to better grasp an organism of interest?
  3. Can we summarize the evolutionary history of species as a sparse mixture of tree topologies?

Our activities are divided between bioinformatics methods and resource development, and their application – typically with experimentalists.

The group develops the OMA resource, the Phylo.io tree viewer, and the ALF genome evolution simulator.

Find out more about the Group’s activities

Main publications 2018

  • Altenhoff A M et al.
    The OMA orthology database in 2018: retrieving evolutionary relationships among all domains of life through richer web and programmatic interfaces.
    Nucleic Acids Res, doi: 10.1093/nar/gkx1019
  • Warwick Vesztrocy A et al.
    Prioritising candidate genes causing QTL using hierarchical orthologous groups.
    Bioinformatics, https://doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/bty615
    Blog post
  • Piližota I et al.
    Phylogenetic approaches to identifying fragments of the same gene, with application to the wheat genome.
    Bioinformatics, doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/bty772



Christophe Dessimoz
Laboratory of Computational Evolutionary Biology
University of Lausanne
Group Webpage

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Domain(s) of activity:

  • Evolution and phylogeny
  • Benchmarking
  • Comparative genomics
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Genome reconstruction
  • Machine learning
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Ontology
  • Phylogeny
  • Phylogenetic tree analysis (natural selection)
  • Semantic web format

Domain(s) of application:

  • Agriculture
  • Basic research
  • Medicine and health