Research Focus

Organisms exhibit an enormous diversity of adaptations in accordance with their evolutionary niche. We want to understand how complex adaptations are encoded in the vertebrate genome. Using the house mouse as our model organism, we aim to uncover and connect molecular innovations to their phenotypic outcomes. In doing so, we link evolutionary adaptations from their molecular origins to whole organisms and populations.
In our group we combine a number of experimental systems to tackle this question.
Photo credit: Lutz Bünger
Photo credit: Lutz Bünger
Genes - Parallel evolution of gigantism in lab and wild mice
We investigate how response to selection for increased body weight in mice reshapes the gene regulatory network in the genome. Using long-term artificially selected mice for increased body weight and naturally evolved island gigantic mice, we compare and contrast various evolutionary strategies for tweaking this complex gene regulatory network.
Genomes - Population genomics of hybridization and adaptation
We also investigate how genomes reshapes itself on the fly in response to selection by tracking genomes during adaptation. We track the fates of individual gene variants and how it spreads in a population, such that an adaptive allele can rise to high frequency and produce evolutionary changes.
Montage from photos by Patrick Gries 
Montage from breathtaking mammalian (and others) photos by Patrick Gries in Opens external link in new windowEvolution.
Species - Comparative genomics of mammalian adaptations
We investigate the nature of adaptive mutations at the molecular level, by taking advantage of advances in genomics and transgenic techniques. We will do so by exploring the diversity of newly available genomes to engineer mice to carry presumptive adaptive mutations and test how they may functionally produce adaptations.