Virpi Ahola


Description of research and teaching


My background is in statistics and bioinformatics. I joined the MRG group in 2009. Before that I have been working in various research projects starting from medical and pharmaceutical research in the University of Turku, and continuing to genomics research in the Agrifood Research Finland MTT. I have defended my PhD thesis in the University of Turku. My PhD thesis dealt with biological sequence analysis, more specially, conservation of protein sequence alignments and alignment quality.


I have broad interests in bioinformatics and statistical genomics. Currently, I am interested in the use of next generation sequencing to study natural populations, especially in studying natural selection and adaptive evolution of Glanville fritillary butterfly.

In the MRG group, I participate in the large genome project of the Glanville fritillary butterfly. The aim of this project is to sequence, assemble and annotate the whole genome of the Glanville fritillary, and to make a genetic map. Genomic sequence will be used, for instance, for studying influence of genomic variation to various life-history traits. The other projects include studying differences in variation among different Glanville fritillary populations using next generation transcriptome sequencing. These projects aim at identifying genomic regions responsible to selection in the Glanville fritillary butterfly.


Latest publications

  1. Ancient DNA analyses of sheep and cattle population dynamics reflect key events in human history in North-East Baltic Sea Region

    Niemi, M. S. J., Sajantila, A. J., Ahola, V. M. & Vilkki, J. 2018 In : Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 18, p. 169-173

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Karyotypes versus genomes: the nymphalid butterflies Melitaea cinxia, Danaus plexippus and D. chrysippus

    Traut, W., Ahola, V. M., Smith, D., Gordon, I. & ffrench-Constant, R. 2 Nov 2017 In : Cytogenetic and Genome Research. 153, 1, p. 46-53

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Butterfly genomics: insights from the genome of Melitaea cinxia

    Ahola, V., Wahlberg, N. & Frilander, M. J. Apr 2017 In : Annales Zoologici Fennici. 54, 1-4, p. 275-291 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview Article

View all (35) »

Latest activities

  1. 16th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology

    Ahola, V. (Speaker)
    20 Aug 201725 Aug 2017

    Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

  2. MRC Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) Meeting

    Ahola, V. (Attendee)
    14 Aug 201716 Aug 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

  3. Butterflies as Genomic Models in Ecology and Evolution

    Ahola, V. (Speaker)
    27 Jul 201728 Jul 2017

    Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

View all (42) »



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