Dr. Christine Grossen

Dr. Christine Grossen


Collaboratrice scientifica


Biodiversità ed ecologia della conservazione

Genetica ecologica


Eidg. Forschungsanstalt WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf


WSL Birmensdorf Bi MG C 34

My main research interest is how a near-extinction event (i.e., the interplay of demography and selection) affects the genetic risks of wild species and thus their future viability. I am especially interested in gene flow and deleterious mutation load.

In collaboration with researchers who share my interests, we aim to address both fundamental questions in evolutionary biology and issues relevant to conservation strategies for endangered species.

Research projects

Alpine ibex (Capra ibex): Combining ancient, historic and modern samples spanning a period of more than 8000 years to investigate the consequences of near extinction on the genomic makeup of a species. 

European wildcat (Felis silvestris): Genome-wide analyses of hybridisation and introgression to improve our understanding, how well hybrids cope with their mixed ancestry of a wild and a domesticated species and how hybridisation may affect the long-term survivability of Wildcats in Switzerland.

Bumblebees (Bombus lapidarius and Bombus pascuorum): Genome-wide comparisons of urban and rural bumblebees, which show striking phenotypic differences.

Aldabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea): Population genomic analysis to inform conservation management of wild and reintroduced populations.

For further details see also: conservation-genomics.ch

Selected publications

Robin, M., Ferrari, GJ., Akguel, G., Von Seth, J., Schuenemann, VJ., Dalen, L., Grossen. C. (2022) Ancient mitogenomes unravel massive genetic diversity loss during near extinction of Alpine ibex. Molecular Ecology 31(13):3548-3565.

Çilingir, F.G., A’Bear, L., Hansen, D., Davis, L.R., Bunbury, N., Ozgul, A., Croll, D., Grossen, C. (2022) Chromosome-level genome assembly for the Aldabra giant tortoise enables insights into the genetic health of a threatened population. GigaScience, doi: 10.1093/gigascience/giac090

Çilingir, F. G., Hansen, D., Bunbury, N., Postma, E., Baxter, R., Turnbull, L.A., Ozgul, A. & Grossen, C. (2022) Low-coverage reduced representation sequencing reveals subtle within-island genetic structure in Aldabra giant tortoises. Ecology and Evolution 18;12(3):e8739.

Kessler, C., Brambilla, A., Waldvogel, D., Camenisch, G., Biebach, I., Leigh, D. M., Grossen, C.* & Croll, D.* (2021). A robust sequencing assay of a thousand amplicons for the high-throughput population monitoring of Alpine ibex immunogenetics. Molecular Ecology Resources 22, 1. 
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

Grossen C, Guillaume F, Keller LF, Croll D. (2020) Purging of highly deleterious mutations through severe bottlenecks in ibex. Nature Communications, 11, 1-12.

Grossen C, Biebach I, Angelone-Alasaad S, Keller LF and Croll D. (2018) Population genomics analyses of European ibex species show lower diversity and higher inbreeding in reintroduced populations. Evolutionary Applications, 11:123–139.

Brambilla A, Keller L, Bassano B and Grossen C (2018) Heterozygosity-fitness correlation at the major histocompatibility complex despite low variation in Alpine ibex (Capra ibex). Evolutionary Applications, 21, 433.

Grossen C, Seneviratne S, Croll D and Irwin DE (2016) Strong reproductive isolation and narrow genomic tracts of differentiation among three woodpecker species in secondary contact. Molecular Ecology, 25, 4247–4266.

Grossen C, Keller LF, Biebach I and Croll D (2014) Introgression from domestic goat generated variation at the major histocompatibility complex of Alpine ibex. PloS Genetics, 10, e1004438.