Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics

Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics

All living creatures on Earth carry their own blueprint in their genetic material, the DNA. Research at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics is dedicated to decoding the DNA of human beings and other organisms. The Institute's scientists study the function of genes and their role during development, from the fertilised egg to the embryo and on to the mature organism. They are particularly interested in genes that can trigger diseases when they malfunction. For a quick and precise analysis of the genetic material, the scientists rely on state-of-the-art sequencing devices, which can decode the entire genetic material of a human being within a few days. Special computer programs designed at the Institute help them to analyse and interpret the resulting data.

Contact

Ihnestrasse 63-73
14195 Berlin
Phone: +49 30 8413-0
Fax: +49 30 8413-1207

PhD opportunities

This institute has an International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS):

IMPRS for Biology and Computation

In addition, there is the possibility of individual doctoral research. Please contact the directors or research group leaders at the Institute.

Ancient dormant sequences in the genome impact embryonic development in unexpected ways

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Illustration showing a tangle of DNA helices and triangular shapes, one of which is breaking up into pieces

Layers of gene control allow DNA to flexibly add new information

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Stem Cell researcher Ludovic Vallier is a new Max Planck Fellow at MPIMG

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Farbiges Diagramm von Genen in einer Punktwolke

New method facilitates identification of cell-type specific genes in single-cell data

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Menschliche Hirnrindenorganoid unter dem Mikroskop, gefärbt mit Fluoreszenzfarbstoffen.

Organoids that mimic human brain cortex in development and disease

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Since the Berlin-based biotech company Scienion was established in 2001, it has experienced its fair share of highs and lows. We talked to its founder about what drives him to succeed and about the typical stumbling blocks and peculiarities associated with spin-offs from basic research.

Sequenced, yes – but decoded? We still don’t fully understand our human genetic make-up. The answer to many of its mysteries lies in the diploid nature of the genome, which contains two sets of chromosomes: one inherited from the father and one from the mother.

Nearly a quarter of all known illnesses are extremely rare and affect just a few thousand patients worldwide. Stefan Mundlos, a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, and his team specialize in the study of rare bone diseases. They are looking for the genes that trigger these disorders.

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X-Chromosome as a model for genetic regulation

2021 Schulz, Edda G.

Developmental Biology Evolutionary Biology Genetics

The inactivation of one of the two X chromosomes in females can not only explain various inheritable diseases, but also allows us to study how the activity of our genome is controlled. X inactivation is governed by the Xist gene, which is able to silence an entire chromosome. Although this process appears to be restricted to mammals, the underlying regulatory mechanisms are used in various contexts of genome regulation.

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Trunk development in a dish

2020 Herrmann, Bernhard G.; Veenvliet, Jesse V.

Developmental Biology

The ontogeny of a complex organism from a single cell demands a high level of self-organization of stem cells and their descendants. The current 2-D model of cell differentiation in culture does not support the formation of embryo-like structures. By using a new 3-D culture system we were able to show that embryonic stem cells of the mouse are indeed able to form trunk-like structures comprising primordia of the spinal cord, cartilage, bone, and skeletal muscle in a culture dish. Our method strengthens a new field of research: Synthetic Embryology.

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In the thicket of biological regulation

2019 Vingron, Martin; van Bömmel, Alena; Heinrich, Verena; Ramisch, Anna; Ballaschk, Martin

Evolutionary Biology Genetics Medicine

We are pursuing fundamental questions of biology: How do cells work, what are the processes within and how do these processes affect each other? After all, interaction of billions of molecules is what constitutes life. Hence, we try to understand the complexity of biological systems through mathematical models and the analysis of large-scale data. Particularly the dynamic regulation of genes is a continuous source for new and surprising discoveries.

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Writing DNA methylation in mammalian genomes

2018 Galonska, Christina; Charlton, Jocelyn; Mattei, Alexandra; Meissner, Alexander

Developmental Biology Genetics Medicine

During the development of an organism, the sequence of its DNA remains unchanged. Gene activity, however, is epigenetically controlled by reversible modifications of the DNA sequence, such as methylation of cytosines. We are working on the development of a system for targeted methylation of the genome at defined positions. Thus, we hope to gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of DNA methylation for the regulation of gene activity, thereby paving the way for the development of new therapeutic approaches for a range of diseases.

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Molecular dissection of colorectal cancer in pre-clinical models identifies biomarkers predicting sensitivity to EGFR inhibitors

2017 Risch, Thomas; Abdavi-Azar, Nilofar; Jandrasits, Christine; Amstislavskiy, Vyacheslav; Worth, Catherine L.; Warnatz, Hans-Jörg; Sultan, Marc; Herwig, Ralf; Lehrach, Hans; Yaspo, Marie-Laure; in Kooperation mit dem OncoTrack Konsortium (www.oncotrack.eu)

Genetics Medicine

Colorectal carcinomas (CRC) are clinically challenging tumors. To identify novel predictive biomarkers of the therapeutic response, the OncoTrack consortium recruited 106 CRC patients for establishing a biobank of organoids and xenografts models analysed by sequencing and tested in a pre-clinical platform. This unique resource generated a compendium of data for advancing our understanding of CRC. Linking molecular patterns with drug response profiles identified novel biomarkers, including a signature outperforming RAS/RAF mutations in predicting sensitivity to the EGFR inhibitor cetuximab.

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