Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

Photographer: onbekend

dr. P.G. (Patrick) Meirmans

  • Faculty of Science
  • Visiting address
    Science Park A
    Science Park 904  Amsterdam
    Room number: C4.165
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  94248
    1090 GE  Amsterdam
    T: 0205258424


At its most elementary, evolution is a shift in allele frequencies. Therefore, we can learn a lot about evolution by investigating the drivers that determine the distribution of genetic diversity. My main research interest is how we can use population genetic data to say something about evolutionary and demographic processes. Ultimately, I want to know which processes, including migration, selection, drift, but also anthropogenic disturbance, determine the distribution of genetic information in space. I do this both empirically and theoretically, but my main strength lies in the analysis of genetic data. Some of my main topics are:

Testing statistical methodology

Genetic data can provide very powerful tools for addressing evolutionary and ecological questions. However, the used statistical methods used often have biases and implicit assumptions that are not well understood. I use simulations to test the performance of widely-used statistical methods to see when they return the expected outcomes, and when they are biased. I use this to provide recommendations for their use, which hopefully leads to more robust inferences in the whole field.

Software development

I have developed a widely-used program for genetic data analysis: GenoDive. GenoDive includes some methods that I have developed myself that are not implemented in any other programs, such as AMOVA-based clustering and clone assignment. GenoDive can also handle polyploid data up to hexadecaploids. In addition, I have developed Marlin, a program for performing spatially-explicit simulations. Both GenoDive and Marlin are under constant development.


Polyploids do strange things: they have many peculiarities in their genetic system that can make them quite different from diploids. This also means that the statistical and molecular tools that are used for diploids do not apply for diploids. I study how polyploidy affects the distribution of genetic diversity and how genetic data analysis can be adapted for polyploid systems.

Application to conservation biology, ecological risk assessment, and climate change

Besides being very informative about the process of evolution, the study of genetic diversity has practical applications in a wide variety of fields. I use population genetics to get insights about the conservation of endangered species, both plants and animals. I have also used population genetics to answer questions around the introduction of genetically modified crops. In my future research, I will analyse how a species response to climate change is affected by the spatial distribution of genetic distribution, and especially the loci underlying adaptation to climate.

Additional topics

Plant mating systems, hybridization, evolution of sex, invasive species


  • Christie, M., Meirmans, P. G., Gaggiotti, O., Toonen, R., & White, C. (2017). Disentangling the relative merits and disadvantages of parentage analysis and assignment tests for inferring population connectivity. ICES Journal of Marine Science, [fsx044]. DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsx044 
  • D'Andrea, L., Meirmans, P. G., van de Wiel, C., Guadagnuolo, R., van Treuren, R., Kozlowski, G., ... Felber, F. (2017). Molecular biogeography of prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola L.) shows traces of recent range expansion. Journal of Heredity, 108(2), 194-206. DOI: 10.1093/jhered/esw078 



  • Luijten, S. H., Shidlo, N. S., Meirmans, P. G., & de Jong, T. J. (2015). Hybridisation and introgression between Brassica napus and B. rapa in the Netherlands. Plant Biology, 17(1), 262-267. DOI: 10.1111/plb.12197  [details] 
  • Meirmans, P. G. (2015). Seven common mistakes in population genetics and how to avoid them. Molecular Ecology, 24(13), 3223-3231. DOI: 10.1111/mec.13243  [details] 



  • Meirmans, P. G., & van Tienderen, P. H. (2013). The effects of inheritance in tetraploids on genetic diversity and population divergence. Heredity, 110(2), 131-137. DOI: 10.1038/hdy.2012.80  [details] 
  • Ellstrand, N. C., Meirmans, P., Rong, J., Bartsch, D., Ghosh, A., de Jong, T. J., ... Hooftman, D. A. P. (2013). Introgression of Crop Alleles into Wild or Weedy Populations. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 44, 325-345. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-110512-135840  [details] 
  • Rong, J., Xu, S., Meirmans, P. G., & Vrieling, K. (2013). Dissimilarity of contemporary and historical gene flow in a wild carrot (Daucus carota) metapopulation under contrasting levels of human disturbance: implications for risk assessment and management of transgene introgression. Annals of Botany, 112(7), 1361-1370. DOI: 10.1093/aob/mct208  [details] 


  • Meirmans, P. G. (2012). AMOVA-based clustering of population genetic data. Journal of Heredity, 103(5), 744-750. DOI: 10.1093/jhered/ess047  [details] 
  • Meirmans, P. G. (2012). The trouble with isolation by distance. Molecular Ecology, 21(12), 2839-2846. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2012.05578.x  [details] 
  • van Hengstum, T., Lachmuth, S., Oostermeijer, J. G. B., den Nijs, J. C. M., Meirmans, P. G., & van Tienderen, P. H. (2012). Human-induced hybridization among congeneric endemic plants on Tenerife, Canary Islands. Plant Systematics and Evolution, 298(6), 1119-1131. DOI: 10.1007/s00606-012-0624-6  [details] 
  • Ghosh, A., Meirmans, P. G., & Haccou, P. (2012). Quantifying introgression risk with realistic population genetics. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 279(1748), 4747-4754. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.1907  [details] 
  • Meirmans, S., Meirmans, P. G., & Kirkendall, L. R. (2012). The costs of sex: facing real-world complexities. The Quarterly Review of Biology, 87(1), 19-40. DOI: 10.1086/663945  [details] 


  • Meirmans, P. G. (2011). MARLIN, software to create, run, and analyse spatially realistic simulations. Molecular Ecology Resources, 11(1), 146-150. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-0998.2010.02888.x  [details] 
  • Meirmans, P. G., & Hedrick, P. W. (2011). Assessing population structure: FST and related measures. Molecular Ecology Resources, 11(1), 5-18. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-0998.2010.02927.x  [details] 
  • Meirmans, P. G., Goudet, J., & Gaggiotti, O. E. (2011). Ecology and life history affect different aspects of the population structure of 27 high-alpine plants. Molecular Ecology, 20, 3144-3155. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05164.x  [details] 
  • Pelgas, B., Bousquet, J., Meirmans, P. G., Ritland, K., & Isabel, N. (2011). QTL mapping in white spruce: gene maps and genomic regions underlying adaptive traits across pedigrees, years and environments. BMC Genomics, 12, 145. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-12-145  [details] 


  • Meirmans, P. G., Lamothe, M., Gros-Louis, M. C., Khasa, D., Périnet, P., Bousquet, J., & Isabel, N. (2010). Complex patterns of hybridization between exotic and native North American poplar species. American Journal of Botany, 97(10), 1688-1697. DOI: 10.3732/ajb.0900271  [details] 
  • Thompson, S. L., Lamothe, M., Meirmans, P. G., Périnet, P., & Isabel, N. (2010). Repeated unidirectional introgression towards Populus balsamifera in contact zones of exotic and native poplars. Molecular Ecology, 19(1), 132-145. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04442.x  [details] 


  • Meirmans, P. G., Bousquet, J., & Isabel, N. (2009). A metapopulation model for the introgression from Genetically Modified Plants into their wild relatives. Evolutionary Applications, 2(2), 160-171. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-4571.2008.00050.x 
  • Neiman, M., Meirmans, S., & Meirmans, P. G. (2009). What can asexual lineage age distribution tell us about the maintenance of sex? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1168, 185-200. DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04572.x 


  • Meirmans, P. G., Lamothe, M., Périnet, P., & Isabel, N. (2007). Species-specific single nucleotide polymorphism markers for detecting hybridization and introgression in poplar. Canadian Journal of Botany, 85, 1082-1091. DOI: 10.1139/B07-069 


  • Meirmans, P. G. (2006). Using the AMOVA framework to estimate a standardized genetic differentiation measure. Evolution, 60, 2399-2402. DOI: 10.1111/j.0014-3820.2006.tb01874.x 
  • Meirmans, P. G., den Nijs, J. C. M., & van Tienderen, P. H. (2006). Male sterility in triploid dandelions: asexual females vs asexual hermaphrodites. Heredity, 96, 45-52. DOI: 10.1038/sj.hdy.6800750 
  • Lamothe, M., Meirmans, P. G., & Isabel, N. (2006). A set of polymorphic EST-derived markers for Picea species. Molecular Ecology Notes, 6, 237-240. DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-8286.2005.01205.x 


  • Meirmans, P. G., & van Tienderen, P. H. (2004). GENOTYPE and GENODIVE: two programs for the analysis of genetic diversity of asexual organisms. Molecular Ecology Notes, 4, 792-794. DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-8286.2004.00770.x  [details] 
  • van der Hulst, R. G. M., Meirmans, P. G., van Tienderen, P. H., & van Damme, J. M. M. (2004). Nuclear-cytoplasmic male-sterility in diploid dandelions. Heredity, 93, 43-50. DOI: 10.1038/sj.hdy.6800478  [details] 


  • Meirmans, P. G., Vlot, E. C., den Nijs, J. C. M., & Menken, S. B. J. (2003). Spatial ecological and genetic structure of a mixed population of sexual diploid and apomictic triploid dandelions. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 16(2), 343-352. DOI: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2003.00515.x  [details] 


  • Meirmans, P. G., Calame, F. G., Bretagnolle, F., Felber, F., & den Nijs, J. C. M. (1999). Anthropogenic disturbance and habitat differentiation between sexual diploid and apomictic triploid Taraxacum sect. Ruderalia. Folia Geobotanica, 34, 451-469. [details] 


  • de Roos, A. M., Sabelis, M. W., van der Geest, L. P. S., van Breemen, M., Geerts, R., Groeneveld, B., ... Vlaar, M. (1998). Genetisch gemodificeerde organismen. Risico's voor ecosystemen en biodiversiteit? Landschap, 15, 157-168. [details] 


  • Feldbrugge, M., Meirmans, P. G., & Francis, R. A. (2016). Edge habitat of urban green spaces. A case study in London (UK). In R. A. Francis, J. D. A. Millington, & M. A. Chadwick (Eds.), Urban Landscape Ecology: Science, policy and practice. (pp. 91-107). Routledge.


  • Meirmans, P. G. (2005). Ecological and genetic interactions between diploid sexual and triploid apomictic dandelions Amsterdam: UvA-IBED [details] 
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