Former Research

Integrative Evolutionary Biology

Horizontal Gene Transfer in Pristionchus
The acquisition of genes from non-parental organisms occurs through a process called ‘horizontal gene transfer’. This phenomenon is frequently observed in prokaryotes and thought to be an important driving force for evolution. more
Neurobiology of Pristionchus pacificus
Many nematode species are capable of displaying a vast array of surprisingly complex behaviours. In Pristionchus pacificus one of the most striking behaviours, can be observed while feeding, as P. pacificus is a highly efficient predator, able to kill and feed upon the larvae of other nematodes to supplement its bacterial diet. more
Small Molecule Chemistry
Nematodes produce a blend of small molecules named ascarosides or NDMM (Nematode Derived Modular Metabolites) which consists of a dideoxy sugar and fatty acid derived side chain. The first ascaroside ascr#1 was identified from the liquid culture medium of the model organism C. elegans and later, ascr#2 together with ascr#3 were discovered and shown to trigger the entrance into a stress resistant, so called “Dauer” stage. more
The Evolution of Dauer Formation
The nematode dauer stage is a specialized larval stage for enduring adverse conditions and for dispersal. In response to environmental cues indicating these situations, nematodes pause their normal development and metamorphose into the dauer state. C. elegans  enters into the dauer state under the conditions of scarce food, high temperature or overcrowding.  more
Vulva development in Pristionchus pacificus: an example of developmental systems drift
The formation of the vulva, the egg-laying structure of nematode females and hermaphrodites, has been at the center of our research activities over many years. We have developed the nematode vulva as a suitable „case study“ in evolutionary developmental biology and have obtained mechanistic insight into the evolutionary alterations of developmental processes by comparing P. pacificus to C. elegans. more
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