Scientific Departments

The primary scientific goal of the Department of Plant Developmental Biology is to study molecular mechanisms that regulate the responsiveness of plant development to environmental cues. In particular, a strong emphasis is placed on understanding the mechanisms controlling the transition to flowering in response to environmental signals and in explaining the diversity in flowering responses observed between species.

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Meiosis is a specialized cell division and an essential stage in the life cycle of sexually-reproducing organisms, during which genetic information is shuffled. Meiosis is thus at the heart of heredity, and is the engine of evolution of eukaryotes, from animals to plants. The department of Chromosome Biology at MPIPZ uses cutting-edge technologies in microscopy, genetics and genomics to explore the mechanisms and consequences of meiosis from multiple perspectives.

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Research in the Department of Plant Microbe Interactions engages in fundamental molecular processes underlying interactions between plants and pathogenic or beneficial microorganisms. The plant innate immune system, mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis and principles determining the assembly and functions of beneficial plant-associated microbial communities have a central role in our discovery programme.

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We seek to address two fundamental questions in biology: how do biological forms develop and what is the basis for their diversity? To address these questions we first aim to elucidate how genotypes are translated into organismal forms through the process of morphogenesis. Secondly, we seek to conceptualize how the balance of conservation versus divergence in morphogenetic regulatory networks yields different organismal forms during evolution. We approach these problems using genetics, while also employing biological imaging, genomics and computational modelling. We believe that working at the interface of these areas will allow us to attain a predictive understanding of how biological forms develop and diversify.

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