Research at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology

Research at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology

Research at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology is engaged in all themes concerning the wide field of evolution. Currently there are three departments with several research groups and some more independend research and guest groups:

Despite the centrality of the cell in living systems, the evolutionary origin and diversification of different cellular features remain poorly understood. This represents a major deficiency in our understanding of the process of evolution, as the establishment and modification of such features have surely constituted important substrates for evolution ever since the emergence of the first cell. In our lab, we aim to contribute towards bridging the gap between cell and evolutionary biology, through the study of the emergence and diversification of the dynamic cellular features that characterize bacterial endospore formation. [more]

Our group explores under which conditions individuals cooperate. To this end, we translate social interactions into strategic games. These games can then be explored mathematically, with computer simulations, and with behavioral experiments.

The group of Diethard Tautz is interested in the identification and characterization of genes involved in adaptation processes using the house mouse (Mus musculus) as a model system. It applies a broad range of genomic and other techniques.
Part of the Department are the Research Group Bioinformatics (Haubold), the Research Group Molecular Systems Evolution (Dutheil) and the Research Group Meiotic Recombination and Genome Instability (Odenthal-Hesse). [more]
The evolutionary theory group uses mathematics and computer simulations to study the dynamics of evolution. Our team is interdisciplinary, with backgrounds ranging from biology, physics, and mathematics to computer science and economics. [more]
The group's work is both theoretical and empirical and makes frequent use of experimental microbial populations to study evolutionary process. Evolutionary transitions in individuality and the origins of multicellularity are a growing fascination. [more]

With our research we want to identify and map the genes behind the components shaping the migratory phenotype. We want to understand: What is the genetic basis of migration, and which signalling pathways are associated with variation of the migratory phenotype?

Nature is structured in time by the continuous cycles of the seasons, night and day, the moon phases and the tides. Most organisms use endogenous biological clocks to anticipate these regular changes in their environment. To date we have a good understanding of the molecular basis of circadian clocks, which control the daily rhythms of physiology and behaviour. However, the molecular clockworks underlying seasonal, lunar and tidal rhythms are still largely enigmatic. [more]

Research in the Environmental Genomics group focuses on adaptation of parasites to their hosts and to the environment in which they exist. As model system we use a group of closely related plant pathogenic fungi in the genus Zymoseptoria. We integrate genomics, transcriptomics, and experimental and molecular approaches to understand adaptive evolution and diversification of Zymoseptoria spp. In a more recently initiated study we address the importance of different histone modifications in gene regulation and genome stability.

Evolution is at the heart of the current antibiotic crisis. Yet, the ability of bacteria for rapid adaptation is usually ignored during treatment design. My group puts the spotlight on the evolutionary mechanisms that either enhance or constrain bacterial adaptation to antibiotics. [more]
John Baines is Professor of Evolutionary Genomics at the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel since April 2009. As part of the Excellence Cluster "Inflammation at Interfaces", he has a dual appointment in both the Medical Faculty of the CAU and at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in nearby Plön. [more]
We are interested in the evolutionary forces and constraints that shape the functional diversity of the vertebrate immune system, from the sequence level to genomic organisation and protein structure. Our research is strongly based on computational analysis of genomic and epidemiological data from human populations, but includes also molecular and experimental approaches using the three-spined stickleback and other model species. [more]
In the parasitology group we are working with natural macroparasites (mainly parasitic helminths) of three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) in different waters around Ploen. Here we combine field studies, laboratory experiments and outdoor experiments. [more]
The main theme of the Emeritus group Milinski is the continuation of the topic evolution of cooperation between egoists, which has become empirically explorable by predicting new models of evolutionary theory. It tests assumptions and predictions of such models with students in experimental games and with parasites who jointly exploit a host.
Furthermore, Milinski continues to investigate the sexual reproduction and mate choice based on the three-spined stickleback.
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