The debate surrounding the dangers posed by genetically modified organisms is becoming emotional and increasingly removed from the scientific context – particularly when it comes to the use of these organisms in agriculture. The radical rejection is obstructing its development and leading to problems that its opponents had actually hoped to prevent.
Patients with osteoporosis stand to gain just as much from artificial bone as those with serious injuries and bone cancer. Peter Fratzl, John Dunlop and Wolfgang Wagermaier are researching the optimum conditions for generating bone tissue at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam-Golm.
Eugene W. Myers never attended a biology lecture. Nevertheless, he made a career for himself in this field, and by developing a computer program, made a major contribution to decoding the human genome. The bioinformatician has recently become a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics and at the Center for Systems Biology in Dresden.
In industrialized countries, corrosion guzzles up to 4 percent of economic performance annually. Substances that protect metals effectively from its ravages are often damaging to the environment or have other disadvantages. Consequently, scientists working with Martin Stratmann and Michael Rohwerder at the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung (Iron Research) in Düsseldorf are developing synthetic coatings that can protect steels and other metals from rust and heal themselves if they become damaged.
Many animal species have made their homes in towns and cities. However, the conditions they encounter there are different than those under which they would live in a natural environment. Henrik Brumm, Jesko Partecke and Bart Kempenaers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen and Radolfzell are studying the effects of city living on our native songbirds. In the process, they have discovered some surprising behavioral changes.
Yoga, tai chi and qi gong aren’t what they once were – that much is clear to anthropologist Peter van der Veer. At the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen, he has been studying the meaning of the spiritual and how it has changed in modern societies.