Yearbook 2013

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Shedding light on heredity processes of mitochondrial mutations

Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing Freyer, Christoph; Cree, Lynsey M.; Mourier, Arnaud; Stewart, James B.; Koolmeister, Camilla; Milenkovic, Dusanka; Wai, Timothy; Hagström, Erik; Chatzidaki, Emmanouella E.; Wiesner, Rudolph; Samuels, David C.; Larsson, Nils-Göran; Chinnery, Patrick F.
Malfunctioning mitochondria can lead to metabolic disorders in the person affected, since mutations in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) can cause muscle weakness, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiac disorders as well as diabetes, and are also linked to the ageing process. In the study presented here, researchers of the Department for Mitochondrial Biology show that intra-familiar differences in the degree of mutation of the mitochondrial genes are largely established before the mother herself is born. more
All animals develop through successive life stages and have life spans that are determined by genes and environment, yet how the molecular circuitry underlying life stage structure relates to longevity is poorly understood. We show that the same molecular switch used for Caenorhabditis elegans developmental timing is co-opted to regulate adult longevity in response to signals from the reproductive system. These studies reveal that metazoan life span is coupled to the gonads through elements of a developmental clock. more
The study of similarities and differences in behavior and physiology between humans and great apes allow for a better understanding of human evolution. Researchers of the Department of Primatology at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig investigate with the help of behavioral observations and the measurement of physiological parameters in the urine of free living apes how competition and cooperation influence the excretion of a number of hormones. more
In a successful global institution committed to the universal interest of humankind, national states and their demands remain important and have in recent years taken the shape of a North-South conflict. A research group at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology studies the decision-making processes of the UNESCO World Heritage institutions and the local consequences of World Heritage inscriptions in the celebrated historical cities of Kyoto, Istanbul, Melaka and Xiʼan. more

Anniversaries in the Max Planck Society – materials and publications

Archive of the Max Planck Society Beck, Lorenz
After the founding of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society 1910/11 its first institutes were founded or came to the new society. The archives of the MPG with its papers and documents for the history of the society, its institutions and members is a partner for the Max Planck Institutes in celebrating anniversaries as well as in telling and publishing its history. Necessary for these services are continuous acquisition, permanent preservation, archival description and a regulated and convenient access to the archival material accompanied by qualified archivistical advices. more
Astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have measured for the first time the alignment of magnetic fields in gigantic clouds of gas and dust in a distant galaxy. The results suggest that such magnetic fields play a key role in channelling matter to form denser clouds, and thus in setting the stage for the birth of new stars. The work was published in the November 24 edition 2011 of the journal Nature. more

In what galaxies do black holes live in the early universe?

Max Planck Institute for Astronomy Jahnke, Knud; Inskip, Katherine J.; Rix, Hans-Walter; van de Ven, Glenn
Using state-of-the-art technology and sophisticated data analysis tools, a team from MPIA has developed a new and powerful technique to directly determine the mass of a galaxy hosting an active supermassive central black hole at a distance of nearly 9 billion light-years from Earth. This pioneering method promises a new approach for studying the co-evolution of galaxies and their central black holes, which typically relies on mass determinations. more
In the collision of neutron stars, the extremely compact remnants of evolved and collapsed stars, two light stars merge to one massive star. The newly-born heavyweight vibrates, sending out characteristic waves in space-time. Model calculations at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics now show how such signals can be used to determine the size of neutron stars and how we can learn more about the interior of these exotic objects. more
The famous Millennium Run (MR) simulations now appear in a completely new light: The Millennium Run Observatory (MRObs) project combines detailed predictions from cosmological simulations with a virtual observatory in order to produce synthetic astronomical observations. These virtual observations allow theorists and observers to analyse the purely theoretical data in exactly the same way as they would purely observational data. The team expects that the advantages offered by this approach will lead to a richer collaboration between theoretical and observational astronomers. more
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