Welcome to the Institute of Molecular Evolution at Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf. Our main scientific interests are endosymbiosis, early evolution, the origin of life, cell evolution, genome evolution and compartmentalized energy metabolism with emphasis on chloroplasts, mitochondria, and hydrogenosomes.
02.12.2016 Award | Sven B. Gould
The VolkswagenStiftung will support PD Dr. Sven B. Gould with 1.5 million Euro in the next five years under the initiative "Life – A fresh scientific approach to the basic principles of life".
This project is in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Julia Vorholt (ETH Zürich) and deals with the early steps of eukaryotic evolution, such as the origin of the nucleus or the role of mitochondria.
Project title: "Probing the prokaryote to eukaryote transition through synthetic evolution"
25.11.2016 Communication | Nature Microbiology
18.11.2016 Talk | TU Braunschweig
17.10.2016 Publication | BMC Biology
28.09.2016 Graduation | Chuan Ku
Chuan Ku successfully finished his doctorate with the thesis entitled
"On the prokaryotic origins of eukaryotic genes".
25.08.2016 Event | Poetenfest Erlangen
Launch of the book "Erste Erde. Epos." by Raoul Schrott with reading and discussions, among others with William Martin, about the origin of the Earth and the early evolution at the Poetenfest in Erlangen, Germany.
Raoul Schrott. Erste Erde. Epos. Hanser Verlag. München. 26. September 2016.
06.08.2016 Press | DER SPIEGEL
26.07.2016 Press | TIME Magazine
26.07.2016 Radio | WDR 5 Leonardo
26.07.2016 Press | The Washington Post
25.07.2016 TV | WDR Lokalzeit Düsseldorf
25.07.2016 Publication | Nature Microbiology
22.07.2016 Graduation | Jan de Vries
Jan de Vries successfully finished his doctorate with the thesis entitled
"Of robust kleptoplasts and versatile embryoplasts".
26.06.2016 Publication | Genome Biology and Evolution
24.06.2016 Publication | Bioessays
20.06.2016 Movie | Origin of Life
20.06.2016 Movie | The Symbiotic Origin of Eukaryotes
19.06.2016 Poster Prize | Sriram Garg
13.06.2016 Cover | Trends in Microbiology
The Trends in Microbiology cover image (Volume 24, Issue 7, 2016) depicts how endosymbiosis could have occurred with an alphaproteobacterium becoming engulfed by an ancient archaeon, forming the first eukaryotic endomembrane system. On pages 525–534, we propose that the origin of the eukaryotic endomembrane system was from bacterial outer membrane vesicles. Cover image and design by Debbie Maizels/Zoobotanica Scientific Illustration.
13.06.2016 Video Abstract | Trends in Microbiology
This is a video abstract of our paper "Bacterial vesicle secretion and the evolutionary origin of the eukaryotic endomembrane system" in Trends in Microbiology (24:525–534, 2016) where we propose that the eukaryotic endomembrane system originated from bacterial outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) released by the mitochondrial ancestor within the cytosol of its archaeal host at eukaryote origin. Confined within the host's cytosol, OMVs accumulated naturally, fusing either with each other or with the host's plasma membrane. This matched the host's archaeal secretory pathway for cotranslational protein insertion with outward bound mitochondrial-derived vesicles consisting of bacterial lipids, forging a primordial, secretory endoplasmic reticulum as the cornerstone of the eukaryotic endomembrane system.
01.06.2016 Cover | Trends in Plant Science
The Trends in Plant Science cover image (Volume 21, Issue 6, 2016) depicts the terrestrialization by fresh-water algae. Key steps in evolution are often singularities. The emergence of land plants is one such case and it is not immediately apparent why. A recent analysis found the zygnematophycean algae to represent the closest relative to embryophytes. Intriguingly, many exaptations thought essential to conquer land are common among various streptophytes, but zygnematophycean algae share with land plants the transfer of a few plastid genes to the nucleus. On pages 467–476 Sven B. Gould and colleagues discuss how the streptophyte chloroplast evolved into what we refer to as the embryoplast, and argue this was as important for terrestrialization by fresh-water algae as the host cell-associated exaptations that are most often focused on. Cover image created by Sven B. Gould with support from Debbie Maizels.
29.05.2016 Press | Welt am Sonntag
11.05.2016 Prize | Shijulal Nelson-Sathi
11.05.2016 Press | Rheinische Post
23.07.2015 Award | William F. Martin
The European Union will support Prof. Dr. William F. Martin with around 2.4 million euros in the next five years. He was awarded the highly prestigious Advanced Grant in 2014 of the European Research Council (ERC). These Advanced Grants are awarded in a very strict selection process only to established, successful top researchers and are therefore considered a special scientific award. The special award to receive an ERC Advanced Grant, is also documented by the success rate: They fell at the current bid by approximately 4% to less than 8%.