Deep-sea anglerfishes have evolved a curious reproductive strategy. Tiny males attach themselves to gigantic females so tightly that the tissues of the two animals eventually fuse. The male esssentially turns into a sperm-producing parasite. This phenomenon is known as sexual parasitism which avoids rejection reaction that usually happens after organ transplantation. Researchers at the MPI of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, Germany and the University of Washington in Seattle, USA have now solved this enigma, and describe the mechanism by which the fusion of two individuals of the same species can so readily occur. They found that the unusual mode of reproduction is associated with changes in the genome that disable key functions of the acquired immune system and instead must rely on much improved innate facilities to deal with infections.

Receptors for the immune defence

Max Planck researchers investigate the function of immune genes in primitive mammals more

YouTube: first footage of a living pair of anglerfish

The mysterious deep-sea creatures take the idea of “mating for life” quite literally - by fusing their bodies. more


Cryovolcanism on Ceres

August 10, 2020

Data from the last months of NASA’s Dawn mission paint a unique picture of the dwarf planet

Avian tree of life better resolved

August 11, 2020

Max Planck researchers clarify relationships between bird families

"The rainforest in Brazil is one of our greatest goods"

August 03, 2020

An interview with Raquel Sirotti, doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute For European Legal History, about the environmental policies of the Bolsonaro government

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Local lockdowns during the corona pandemic

July 29, 2020

To be successful strict local containment and low number of cross-regional infections are crucial

COVID-19 research: Anti-viral strategy with double effect

July 29, 2020

Frankfurt scientists identify possible Achilles’ heel of SARS-CoV-2 virus

Using Epo against Covid-19

July 03, 2020

The doping agent erythropoietin could attenuate severe progression of COVID-19

Recruitment Programs & Job Offers

Max Planck Schools

Interdisciplinary supervision by excellent mentors and attractive financial assistance: The Max Planck Schools target ambitious Bachelor or Master graduates from all over the world. Apply now!

Innovative training programmes for Phd students

Talented German and foreign junior scientists are offered the opportunity to earn a doctorate under excellent research conditions

Job Offers

PhD position to study the formation of terpenes in the genus Baccharis L.

Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena
August 13, 2020

Press Officer (m/f/d)

Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching
August 13, 2020

Coordinator (m/f/d) for International Max Planck Research School for Translational Psychiatry

Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, München
August 11, 2020

Max Planck Research Groups

Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt am Main
August 10, 2020


Videos and Events

Parrots help others to find food

Video January 10, 2020

Parrots exhibit a high level of social intelligence and cooperativeness. Moreover, they reciprocate received favours and do not appear jealous, if conspecifics obtain a better reward than themselves.

Spot On - Rosalia Engchuan

Video February 10, 2020

Anthropologist Rosalia Engchuan looks at how Indonesian filmmakers respond to the challenges of their social and environmental surroundings and how they influence the development of moral values, for example, through solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.

Synthetic Chloroplast Production using a Microfluidic platform

Video May 13, 2020

Cell-sized droplets equipped with natural and synthetic parts are able to perform photosynthesis. In the future, they could serve as bioreactors for the sustainable, light driven fixation of CO2 into value-added compounds.

Flight and trauma

Video March 15, 2018

Traumatic experiences arising from flight from war zones can lead to distressing symptoms, which impair everyday life.

The school for T Cells

Video August 17, 2017

The lamprey has no thymus gland. Max Planck scientist Thomas Böhm wants to know how it copes with bacteria and viruses.


Video May 04, 2017

In principle, almost any encryption key can be broken - all you need is the right computing power. The situation is different, however, with quantum cryptography. Gerd Leuchs is researching this encryption technology of the future.

Climate: how the earth breathes

Video February 06, 2017

Researchers understand Earth’s climate system very accurately by now. For a long time, however, an important piece of the puzzle remained very elusive - the role played by vegetation and soils.

MaxPlanck-Bristol Centre for Minimal Biology


Interfaces of matter and life are the focus of the new Max Planck Bristol Centre for Minimal Biology. Prof. Imre Berger from Bristol University explains the topic.

“Smart Working – how it affects industries, technologies and careers”


Let's go digital: this year's Max Planck Symposium for early career researchers is taking place on Sept. 17 – 19, 2020 and will take the form of an Online Conference, with keynotes, workshops, a panel discussion and evening networking activities.

From the Institutes

MPI of Neurobiology
Individual differences in the brain more
MPI for Heart and Lung Research
Assembly within the tumor center more
MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Brain: Different from a computer more
MPI for Terrestrial Microbiology
Signal transduction in cells: precise or economical? more
MPI for Astronomy
Massive stellar embryos undergo episodic growth more
MPI for Molecular Genetics
Quick notes in the genome more
MPI of Colloids and Interfaces
Put into the right light – sustainable coupling reactions more
Ernst Strüngmann Institute (ESI)
Measuring the brain more
MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Researchers are watching the brain memorizing rooms more
MPI for Biology of Ageing
A balancing act between immunity and longevity more
MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology
In nature, chimpanzees are more motivated to cooperate than bonobos more
MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology
Neandertal genes in the petri dish more
MPI for Intelligent Systems
More realistic avatars than ever more
Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society
Molecular spectroscopy in the data age more
Max Planck Innovation
Launch of Start-up QLi5 Therapeutics more

Social Media

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