Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology

Research publications

You can find more research publications messages on the website of the Institute:

Research publications 2017

Defence at almost any price

December 12, 2017

The efforts of bacteria in their defence against predators is so great that they can barely invest resources in offspring [more]


Evolution in the lab

September 08, 2017

Experiments with bacteria show that genes can fuse together, leading to the production of novel proteins [more]

Genetically modified insects could disrupt international food trade

January 31, 2017

Genetically modified organisms for pest control could end up as contaminants in agricultural products throughout the globe [more]


Different recombination rates keep highly selfish genes in check

January 17, 2017

The hamlet fish can be both the father and mother of its offspring – a characteristic that is helping researchers to understand why genes often undergo recombination more readily in one sex. [more]

Research publications 2016

A wolf in sheep's clothing: Your boss, the friendly blackmailer

October 06, 2016

Extortionate strategies can be successful - if they are not applied too heavy-handedly [more]

Hereditary diseases are the price of protection against infections

September 01, 2016

Balancing selection is responsible for helping us fend off pathogens, but also for the occurrence of mutations in our genome that predispose us to hereditary diseases [more]


Strategies for dealing with the cuckoo mafia

May 17, 2016

Host birds only tolerate parasitic eggs in their nests when they fear retaliation [more]

New mathematical model for tumour prognosis

April 18, 2016

Proportion of cancer stem cells can increase over the course of cancer treatment [more]


Raw material for new genes

March 07, 2016

Genetic analysis in mice shows that new genes can evolve from non-functional DNA regions [more]


Voters prefer to be represented by extortioners

March 07, 2016

A climate game and a game theory model show that people prefer representatives who adopt an extortionate strategy in negotiations [more]


Mutual sabotage in parasites

February 10, 2016

When parasites in different developmental stages infect the same host, conflicts of interest develop between the parasites [more]

Research publications 2015

The life story of stem cells

November 09, 2015

A model analyses the development of stem cell numbers in the human body [more]

Research publications 2014

Genes for speciation

December 09, 2014

Regions in the genome cause infertility in some hybrids of house mouse subspecies [more]


From single cells to multicellular life

November 06, 2014

Max Planck researchers capture the emergence of multicellular life in real-time experiments [more]


Smiling builds trust

November 06, 2014

Smiles perceived as genuine promote cooperation [more]

Together we are strong – or insufferable

October 29, 2014

Everyone can have an impact on the dynamics of a group, particularly if they join forces with others [more]


Environmental change leaves its footprint in the epigenome

May 30, 2014

High-fat diets and long daylight periods alter epigenetic markers in wild mice [more]


Extortioners are only temporarily successful

May 29, 2014

A game theory experiment demonstrates that people only let themselves be extorted to a limited extent, thus contradicting models indicating the success of extortionate social conduct [more]


Fear of the cuckoo mafia

April 17, 2014

For fear of retaliation, birds accept and raise brood parasites’ young [more]

Research publications 2013

Democracy pays

December 23, 2013

Majority wants both punishment for tax evaders and things to go fine for themselves [more]

People don't put a high value on climate protection

October 23, 2013

Without further incentives selfish behaviour will continue to dominate [more]


Mate choice in mice is heavily influenced by paternal cues

March 28, 2013

Hybrid offspring of different house mice populations show a preference for mating with individuals from their father's original population [more]

Genes without templates

March 25, 2013

Many genes are completely new inventions and not just modified copies of old genes [more]


Formula for a biologically effective perfume

January 31, 2013

Max Planck researchers crack the olfactory code for partner selection and synthesise the first biologically effective perfume [more]

Research publications 2012

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth

October 24, 2012

The majority of vendettas originate within a group [more]


Red King or Red Queen

September 24, 2012

In relationships based on mutuality, the number of individuals involved can determine the rate at which species evolve [more]

Tax evaders prefer institutional punishment

July 04, 2012

Establishing a central, costly authority can help to facilitate a stable coexistence [more]

Interacting mutations promote diversity

June 28, 2012

Frequency-dependent selection fosters the diversity of populations but does not always increase the average fitness of the population. [more]

When reputation is at stake, punishment becomes more responsible

June 19, 2012

Reputation could be the deciding factor in the evolution of cooperation and punishment [more]

Does cooperation require both reciprocity and alike neighbours?

June 08, 2012

Max Planck scientists develop new theoretical model on the evolution of cooperation [more]


Repeat act: parallel selection tweaks many of the same genes to make big and heavy mice

May 09, 2012

Max Planck scientists decode genes for a complex characteristic [more]


Transgene insects: scientists call for more open data

February 01, 2012

Max Planck scientists analysing the release of genetically modified insects into the environment have found that the available scientific information can be misleading [more]


Diseases and sex

January 03, 2012

The great variation of a specific form of immune genes makes organ transplants so complicated. On the other hand, we need such a great variability in order to resist infectious diseases. [more]

Research publications 2011

A winning formula for climate change conferences?

November 22, 2011

The likelihood of damage caused by climate change in the medium term could bring poor and rich countries to effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions [more]


Mutants with heterozygote disadvantage can prevent spread of transgenic animals

November 21, 2011

Max Planck researchers simulate the conditions for the safest possible release of genetically modified organisms [more]


Punishment of egoistic behaviour is not rewarded

November 14, 2011

People do not like to be observed when they cause harm to others [more]

Research publications 2010

Shedding new light on embryonic development

December 15, 2010

Similarities in the embryonic development of various animal species are also found at molecular level [more]

Research publications 2008

Genetic based human diseases are an ancient evolutionary legacy

October 16, 2008

Evolutionary geneticists reveal that disease genes emerged very early in evolutionary history [more]

Research publications 2006

When reputation matters, punishment may be reduced to the extreme cases

December 07, 2006

In human societies, social misconduct for personal gain is restrained by the withdrawal of social support and additional direct punishment is desired to discipline the worst social loafers [more]

People want to be seen helping the climate

March 02, 2006

Max Planck researchers find that a person is more likely to help protect the climate when receiving public recognition for it [more]

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