Evolutionary Biology
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Research Groups

  • Noémie Becker - Evolution of Humans and Pathogens

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    How do humans and their pathogens evolve? Our group addresses this fascinating question using Lyme Disease as a model system. The Borrelia bacteria responsible for this disease are transmitted to various hosts (including humans) by ticks. This complex systems allows us to study the co-evolution of Borrelia, hosts and ticks using population genomics approaches. Our aim is to understand how the Borrelia bacteria have adapted to their vectors and hosts and how come humans are susceptible to some but not all Borrelia species. more

  • Sonja Grath - Genome, Epigenome, and Proteome Evolution

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    With both experimental and bioinformatic approaches we study the evolution of proteomes, gene expression and DNA methylation using various systems. Current projects focus on protein domains in bacteria, cold tolerance in natural fly populations, the evolutionary origin of DNA methylation, and on gene expression and methylation patterns in different types of blood disease. more

  • Sebastian Höhna - Computational and Theoretical Phylogenetics

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    Our primary aim is to develop new statistical models and computational methods to answer research questions in phylogenetics, which include: (1) estimating phylogenetic relationships; (2) estimating divergence times and rates of molecular evolution; (3) inferring rates and mode of lineage diversification (speciation and extinction); (4) analyzing causes of conflicting gene trees. All topics use phylogenies to represent evolutionary relationships. more

  • Richard Merrill - Behaviour and Speciation (Emmy Noether Group)

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    Behavioural adaptations are often some of the first to evolve during population divergence, and can play a key role during the evolution of new species. Notably, although many organisms can interbreed with close relatives, they often ‘choose’ not to. Our research focuses on adaptive behaviours: how ecological, genetic and developmental factors influence their evolution, and how they contribute to speciation and other population level processes. more

  • Dirk Metzler - Statistical Genetics

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    We analyse probabilistic models for evolutionary processes and ecological interactions. Based on such explicit models we develop computational methods for statistical data analyses in population genetics and evolutionary genomics. more

  • Bart Nieuwenhuis - Evolution of sexual asymmetry

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    Sexual reproduction generally occurs by the fusion of gametes that differ from each other. But why are asymmetries during mating required? In my group we study what drives the evolution of these asymmetries and their dynamics combining experimental, molecular and genomic approaches using fungi as model system. more

  • John Parsch - Evolutionary and Functional Genomics

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    In general, we are interested in understanding the molecular basis of adaptation. We study the evolution of genes and gene expression using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model system. Current projects focus on variation in gene expression between populations and sexes, as well as the population genetic and functional analysis of gene regulatory elements. more

  • Ricardo Pereira - Hybridization and Speciation

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    From extant, reproductively isolated, species it is difficult to identify which genes initiate the process of species formation, and how they affect lineage splitting through time. My group applies a multidisciplinary research program that attempts to answer this key evolutionary challenge, through the exploitation of inter-lineage hybrids in which reproductive isolation is incomplete, as windows into the process of species formation. more

  • Jochen Wolf - Evolutionary and Ecological Genetics

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    We explore evolutionary processes in natural and experimental eukaryotic populations using a combination of wet lab techniques, population genetic, comparative and functional genomic approaches. Centered on vertebrate study systems with the recent addition of fungi, current research interests in the group include speciation, adaptation and genome evolution. more