The Gilbert group – University of Copenhagen

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GeoGenetics > Research groups > The Gilbert group

The Gilbert Group

Our research heavily exploits the ongoing developments in DNA sequencing technology, with a particular interest in applying such methods to non-model systems. Our research themes include:

Adaptive, Comparative and Speciation Genomics

What is the genomic basis of change, whether at the intra- or inter-specific level? What are the limits of our current understandings of how genomes work? How messy is speciation, and what is the relative role of genomics vs other factors as this speciation happens?

Conservation and Population Genomics

Using both reduced representation as well as full genome resequencing data, we are studying the population structure of a range of animals and plants across both the local and global scale.

Domestication Genomics

Using ancient DNA and associated biomolecules we are studying the timing and tempo of change of the genetic transitions that domestic species underwent as humans transformed them from their wild relatives.

Food Genomics

Many of the techniques we implement in our other research has perhaps surprising relevance for industry. This includes deciphering the microbial interactions during fermentation processes, through to elucidating the genomic basis of desirable phenotypes.

Hologenomics and Metagenomics

What role do our microbial passengers play in the adaptation of plants and animals to new environments? And what is the interplay between the host’s genome and that of the associated microbes?


Metabarcoding is the massively parallel amplicon sequencing of complex biological materials with an aim of reconstructing the taxonomic variation in such materials. We develop and apply such techniques to a wide range of questions, spanning the diagnostic to the auditing of biodiversity.


Ancient DNA studies have finally entered the era in which the datasets recoverable from degraded materials can be studied at the genomic scale. Many technical challenges remain, whether relating to the most efficient recovery and analysis of such data, as well as outlining the realistic limits to the contributions of aDNA to our understanding of life. We work on attempting to overcome some of these challenges through the development and validation of new methods, as well as apply aDNA datasets to a range of the above questions.

‘Extinction Genomics - Exploring and exploiting the potential of extinct genome sequencing’

This is a project funded through an ERC Consolidator Grant award (681396) to Tom Gilbert, that started on April 1st 2016. Through this funding we have been able to build a small research team whose goals are to explore what exactly the limits are on genome reconstruction from extinct or otherwise historic/ancient materials. Read more...


Our research is only possible thanks to generous funding from a number of key sources. These include the Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions (in particular the training networks ArchSci2020 and Microwine, as well as numerous Individual Fellowships), the European Research Council (Consolidator Grant 681396-Extinction Genomics), the Lundbeck Foundation, Carlsberg Foundation and Villum Foundation, the Danish Council for Independent Research, the Danish National Research Foundation and the Innovationsfonden.

(Updated 26.10.2017)