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Latest Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology Stories

Two Mouths For One Worm
2013-11-07 11:58:54

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft A devious evolutionary path between genetics and environment Depending on the environment in which the worm grows, the larva of the roundworm Pristionchus pacificus develops into either a wide-mouthed predator or a narrow-mouthed bacteria eater. A team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Tübingen, Germany, headed by Ralf J. Sommer have now discovered a developmental biological switch that determines the worm's mouth form....

Newly Discovered Threadworm Named After Physicist Max Planck
2013-07-09 10:20:19

Max Planck Institute An unusual posthumous honor for physicist Max Planck: Biologists in Tubingen working with Ralf J. Sommer have named a newly discovered nematode after the German Nobel laureate. Pristionchus maxplancki is thus the first species to carry the name of the scientist, who died in 1947. The discovery from the Far East is assisting the researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology to attain new insights and knowledge about the many interdependencies between...

2011-10-18 13:14:01

Ciliary beating of Platynereis gives insights into an ancestral state of nervous system evolution As planktonic organisms the larvae of the marine annelid Platynereis swim freely in the open water. They move by activity of their cilia, thousands of tiny hair-like structures forming a band along the larval body and beating coordinately. With changing environmental conditions the larvae swim upward and downward to their appropriate water depth. Scientists of the Max Planck Institute for...

2011-08-29 12:09:00

Thanks to its flexible genome the plant can adapt to various environmental conditions People can develop new technologies and animals may migrate to other regions. However, plants are tied to their location. Nevertheless, they have found ways to ensure their survival. This is the case for the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, which is found throughout the entire northern hemisphere. But how does this small, inconspicuous plant deal with all these different extremes? In order to discover the...

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2010-07-01 10:55:00

Max Planck researchers have uncovered an ingenious evolutionary trick: a signaling chain is allocated several functions, enabling optimal adaptation to environmental conditions Dramatic scenes are played out under Ralf Sommer's microscope: his research object, the roundworm Pristionchus pacificus, bites another worm, tears open a hole in its side and devours the oozing contents. The squirming victim does not stand a chance in this duel: Caenorhabditis elegans may be a close relative of...

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2010-06-03 07:38:06

Scientists from Tbingen reveal an evolutionary dilemma: plants that are more resistant to disease grow more slowly and are less competitive than susceptible relatives when enemies are rare Individuals of one and the same plant species often differ greatly in their ability to resist pathogens: While one rose succumbs to bacterial infection, its neighbor blissfully thrives. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Developmental Biology in Germany have tracked down an explanation for this...

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2010-03-15 13:20:12

Tbingen-based developmental geneticists research organ development in the plant embryo In the beginning is the fertilized egg cell. Following numerous cell divisions, it then develops into a complex organism with different organs and tissues. The largely unexplained process whereby the cells simply "know" the organs into which they should later develop is an astonishing phenomenon. Scientists from the Center for Plant Molecular Biology (ZMBP) of the University of Tbingen and the University of...

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2010-01-01 11:38:35

US-German team measures how quickly genomes change Mutations are the raw material of evolution. Charles Darwin already recognized that evolution depends on heritable differences between individuals: those who are better adapted to the environment have better chances to pass on their genes to the next generation. A species can only evolve if the genome changes through new mutations, with the best new variants surviving the sieve of selection. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for...

2009-09-03 15:38:37

Scientists have suspected that spare parts in the genome"”extra copies of functional genes that arise when genes or whole genomes get duplicated"”might sometimes provide the raw materials for the evolution of new traits. Now, researchers report in a study published online on September 3rd in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, that they have discovered a prime example of this in fish. The researchers show that a duplicate copy of a gene involved in embryonic development has...

2009-08-20 11:35:00

A newly discovered signaling pathway ensures that plants remember to flower -- even without positive signals from the environmentWhy do some plants blossom even when days are short and gray? Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology have found the answer to this question: An endogenous mechanism allows them to flower in the absence of external influences such as long days. A small piece of RNA, a so-called microRNA, has a central role in this process, as a decline of...


Word of the Day
grass-comber
  • A landsman who is making his first voyage at sea; a novice who enters naval service from rural life.
According to the OED, a grass-comber is also 'a sailor's term for one who has been a farm-labourer.'