Yearbook 2005

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What impact do institutional and political factors have on the development of fertility and family dynamics in Europe? Comparative research conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research provides new insights into the complex relationship between family policy and childbearing behavior. more
The long-term goal of our research is to understand how social systems adapt to variable environments. Thorough understanding of the adaptive process, however, requires detailed knowledge of the mutational basis of adaptations, the fitness and phenotypic effects of those adaptations, and the selective environments in which they conferred fitness advantages. Towards this end, we employ both laboratory-based evolutionary studies of the social bacterium Myxococcus xanthus, as well as studies of fine-scale phenotypic and genomic variation among natural isolates. Here we highlight some of our ongoing studies of laboratory-evolved genotypes. more
Cell migration in organisms is a complicated process, which is accomplished by the finetuned activity of the cytoskeleton in different regions of the cell. In vertebrates, cell migration plays a fundamental role as the three dimensional structure of organs is built by the migration of many different cell types: for example during the development of the nervous system and the blood vessels. It is obvious that these movements of cells from different origins have to be coordinated to ensure that each cell reaches its destined place. However, very little is known about how an embryo manages this huge logistic task. Embryos of the zebrafish, Danio rerio, harbour many characteristics making them the ideal model organism to study this dynamic cell behaviour in vivo: The embryos develop extremly fast outside the mother organism: 24 hours post fertilisation all important organ systems have started to form. Moreover, fish embryos are transparent, allowing high resolution time lapse microscopy to study and examine living animals. more
The research program “The German royal palaces: survey of the Pfalzen, royal courts and other places of residence of the kings in the medieval German Reich” at the Max-Planck-Institute for History in Göttingen, provides a comprehensive and interdisciplinary compendium of the locations where the East Frankish-German kings stayed. The project will be accompanied by colloquia which will look at places of power in a comparative, international perspective. more
The mechanisms of spatiotemporal pattern formation in biology and medicine is key to the understanding of living matter from cell to organs. The phenomenon of self-organization is observed in the chemotactic motion of cells forming complex behavior and structures. On an organ level, the nonlinear interaction of cardiac cells is evident in the transition from periodic heart rhythm to spatiotemporal chaos associated with sudden cardiac death. We describe our experimental and numerical approach to gain further understanding of these biophysical systems. more

Crystallisation of enantiomers

Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems Elsner, Martin P.; Lorenz, Heike; Seidel-Morgenstern, Andreas
Pure enantiomers are of large interest in the pharmaceutical industry and for the production of fine chemicals. Chemical synthesis is frequently not selective and provides racemic (50:50) mixtures requiring subsequently efficient separation processes. A possible method to solve this difficult separation problem is offered by enantioselective crystallization processes. In the article the application of the so-called "Preferential Crystallisation" technique for resolution of racemates is discussed. more
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