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Evolutionary Biology

Modern biology has split into two distinct disciplines, namely organismic and molecular biology. While organismic biology concentrates on organisms and their interaction with the environment, molecular biology attempts to understand the principle of biological functions at the level of their molecular components. In recent decades, molecular biology in particular has benefited from the considerable technological progress which has led to an unprecedented amount of new data. Although the two disciplines do not always seem compatible at first glance, one must not forget that the separation is purely artificial.

Evolutionary biology is traditionally concerned with organisms (including populations and species). It is now closely intertwined with molecular biology, and hence with genomics and proteomics as well. Moreover, evolutionary biology has adopted concepts and theories which were developed by other, related disciplines, particularly the geosciences. Due to the fact that modern humans seek out new habitats and alter them in the process, a new and in some cases purely anthropogenic, i.e. man-made, selection pressure has been created. This affects humans themselves, but also the full range of biodiversity. One goal of the Research Focus is thus to undertake a general assessment of the current state of evolution research. The theoretical framework is to be developed first in order to investigate and assess the respective influence of these various disciplines on evolutionary biology. Researchers from the two different fields will come together to discuss the potential and challenges of these new technological developments.


Working Group

Visiting Fellows

  • James Burton, Ph.D.
    (T. Douglas Price Laboratory for Archaeological Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA)
  • Prof. Kavita Jain, Ph.D.
    (Theoretical Sciences Unit, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, India)



CAS<sup>Video</sup> – LogoPlease find video recordings of this Research Focus here: CASVideo – Evolutionary Biology.