Different mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana

Evolution

Without evolution there is no life

"Nothing in biology makes sense except when viewed in the light of evolution." This is the famous title of a 1973 article by Theodosius Dobzhansky, in which the Russian-American evolutionary biologist describes evolution as the means by which God created life on earth. But what exactly is evolution?

Lucinid clams to the left and right of the Isthmus of Panama

Major environmental changes force symbiotic bacteria to develop new survival strategies more

Termite symbiosis in transition

Genetic analyses show how the metabolic capacities of symbiotic bacteria in the gut of termites have changed over the course of evolution more

High ozone levels could be a cause of insect decline

The oxidant pollutant removes mating barriers between fly species and increases the occurrence of sterile hybrids more

Cannibalism and Genome Duplication in Nematodes

Developmental plasticity plays a crucial role in the predatory development of Allodiplogaster sudhausi more

Spring chicken

Humans started breeding chickens later than previously assumed more

City birds shy away from risk

Caution helps animals in their dealings with humans more

A gene for the male sex

Brown algae and animals have taken a similar approach to sex determination more

Harnessing hydrogen at life’s origin

Researchers gain new insights into how the first cells on Earth were able to use hydrogen gas as an energy source more

Malaria parasite takes its time

The pathogens want to benefit as long as possible from the food supply that life in the vector mosquitoes offers them more

Sex or regeneration

Planarians that reproduce sexually cannot regenerate injured or missing body parts more

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Termite symbiosis in transition

Genetic analyses show how the metabolic capacities of symbiotic bacteria in the gut of termites have changed over the course of evolution more

High ozone levels could be a cause of insect decline

The oxidant pollutant removes mating barriers between fly species and increases the occurrence of sterile hybrids more

Spring chicken

Humans started breeding chickens later than previously assumed more

City birds shy away from risk

Caution helps animals in their dealings with humans more

Harnessing hydrogen at life’s origin

Researchers gain new insights into how the first cells on Earth were able to use hydrogen gas as an energy source more

Malaria parasite takes its time

The pathogens want to benefit as long as possible from the food supply that life in the vector mosquitoes offers them more

Sex or regeneration

Planarians that reproduce sexually cannot regenerate injured or missing body parts more

The evolution of complex grammars

A new study shows that changes in grammatical complexity are not shaped by social environments more

Feral genius

American mink regrow their brains in a rare reversal of the domestication process more

Reconstruction of a hunter-gatherer associated with the Gravettian culture (32,000-24,000 years ago), inspired by the archaeological findings at the Arene Candide site (Italy).

Large-scale genomic analysis documents the migrations of Ice Age hunter-gatherers over a period of 30,000 years more

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Detlef Weigel

An interview with Detlef Weigel about his discovery that cells prevent particularly important genes from mutating more

Scientific highlights 2020

Many publications by Max Planck scientists in 2020 were of great social relevance or met with a great media response. We have selected 13 articles to present you with an overview of some noteworthy research of the year more

A Stickleback - Full of Worms

Around 40 percent of all species on Earth are parasitic – apparently a highly successful way of life. Even a fish such as the three-spined stickleback is plagued by up to 25 different parasites. more

Genes as parasites

Scientists analyse, how jumping genes can be copied in the DNA more

From fish to mammal heart

Fish hearts are genetically divided more

Defence at almost any price

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

Researchers sequence a new Neandertal genome

The genome of a European Neandertal allows more Neandertal DNA to be identified in present-day people more

How easily we tan is influenced by Neandertal DNA

Neandertal DNA influences variation in skin tone and hair colour in people living today more

First large-scale ancient genomes study from sub-Saharan African skeletons lifts veil on prehistoric populations

Genetic analyses uncover lost human populations and surprising relationships, revealing a complex history of population movements in ancient Africa more

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