Atrás Bertranpetit Busquets, Jaume


Departamento de Medicina y Ciencias de la Vida
Biología Evolutiva

Personal profile in our Scientific Output Portal (PPC)

Biography note

Professor of Biology at the Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona). Group leader in the Evolutionary Biology and Complex Systems Program in the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (CEXS) of this University. Promoter of the Institute for Evolutionary Biology, IBE (UPF-CSIC). His research field is in different aspects on the study of the human genome variation and diversity: human population genetics, molecular evolution, comparative genomics and the interaction between human evolutionary biology and other fields, including medicine, genetic of complex diseases, statistical genetics and others. Recent research is mainly on the footprint of natural selection in the human genome and the e merging field of Evolutionary Systems Biology, with the relationship of molecular networks and adaptation in genome-wide perspective. He has published over 320 research papers, most of them since his major dedication to the study of human evolution through the genetic information (since 1992). Member of the Institut d'Estudis Catalans and a number of international organizations. Director of ICREA (Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats).


  • TA and PhD student 1974-1976 and assistant Professor (contract) 1997-1982, University of Barcelona.
  • Assistant Professor (tenure) in May 1982. University of Barcelona.
  • Work in Stanford University with Luca Cavalli-Sforza (1989 and 1991).
  • Full Professor (Catedrático) Faculty of Biology, University of Barcelona. 1988-1998.
  • Full Professor. Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, School of Health and Life Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona). Since November 1998.
  • Dean in the Faculty of Biology, Universitat Pompeu Fabra. 1998-September 1999.
  • Vice-Chancellor for Research of the Pompeu Fabra University. July 1999-June 2001.
  • Director of the Spanish National Genotyping Center (CeGen) funded by Genome Spain and Instituto de Salud Carlos III 2004-2011.
  • Director of ICREA (Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies) since 2007.


  • Premi Europeu de Divulgació Científica Estudi General. Universitat de València and Ajuntament d'Alzira with the book "Una història biològica de l'espècie humana", by J. Bertranpetit and C. Junyent. Ciutat d'Alzira, València, October 1997.
  • Invited to the most important meetings in various disciplines, including genome studies, human origins, genetic diversity and natural selection.
  • Grants from all major Catalan, Spanish, European and International funding agencies.
  • Member of the board of several Catalan, Spanish and European funding agencies.
  • Editor of two journals: Annals of Human Genetics and Gene.
  • In 2002 received the Distinció Investigadora de la Generalitat de Catalunya (Annual award of Science of the Catalan Science Ministry).

Published more than 320 scientific papers, most after the shift to the study of genomes (1992), with 226 papers in PubMed i and 258 in the ISI Web Of Science, with 8400 citations and H index of 49 (Septembre 2014). 
As the most important part of the CV is the publications, a list can be seen in Pub Med ( or in his personal web page (

Research lines

Research outline

Our present main research focuses on the understanding of natural selection and adaptation in human and in primates through the comparative analysis of genomes. Our purpose is the understanding of complex adaptations by genome wide analyses of the footprints that natural selection has left in the genomes after its action and not only detecting single signals (in one specific gene or genome region) but trying to put selection in a functional molecular framework of molecular pathways.

The different forms of selection (purifying, balancing and positive) are analyzed at two levels: among human populations in order to detect population-specific adaptations, and among primates in order both to recognize species-specific adaptive selection and to measure the relative strength of purifying selection.

The action of selection is measured and understood beyond single lists of genes, and integrated in molecular physiological pathways or networks and the aim is, in a given pathway, to understand the complex basis of adaptation and how networks have been shaped by natural selection. At the end we are trying to uncover rules and laws in the action of selection in its primary source: the molecular action.

As a huge amount of genomic information is being produced for humans, there are ample possibilities of studying differential adaptation among human populations, as different human groups have been adapting in different environments; this is the intra-specific level of analysis of natural selection. Moreover, genomic information is being produced for other species, allowing increasing possibilities of understanding differential adaptation of different species and opening the possibility of asking a key question: which has been the adaptive history of a given species, say humans? This question may allow tackling the intriguing questions of which are the genome bases for our own (or any other) species.

Research sublines

  • Footprints of adaptation in humans and purifying selection in higher primates
  • Human population genetics and recombination
  • Human genetic diversity and population history