Press releases

Press releases

2021

TBG scientists analyse samples from German Environmental Specimen Bank
28.06.

TBG scientists analyse samples from German Environmental Specimen Bank

The German Environmental Specimen Bank archives samples from various habitats throughout Germany. More than 500,000 biological snapshots are stored at -150°C. Since the 1980s, they have been used to monitor environmental changes. Led by the University of Duisburg-Essen, researchers are now developing new genetic methods that will allow them to analyse biodiversity trends with the samples in greater detail in the future – for example, about insect extinction and newly introduced species. Involved are also researchers from the LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics (TBG) and the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (SBiK-F) in Frankfurt. The project “TrenDNA”  is funded by the Federal Environment Agency. (Photo: Fraunhofer IME, Studio 95, Ulrich Kaifer)

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After heat waves: genes identified for drought resistance in beeches
17.06.

After heat waves: genes identified for drought resistance in beeches

Which trees will survive dry, very hot summers and which will suffer severe damage? Regarding European beech trees, this question may now be answered by genome analyses. A team led by Prof. Dr. Markus Pfenninger, LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics and Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, has studied damaged and healthy beech trees in Hesse, Germany and identified areas in their genome that are responsible for drought resistance. Based on these DNA sections, it is possible to predict for each individual tree how it resists longer periods of drought. Using targeted DNA tests, resistant specimens could now be selected for forestry in order to help beech forests adapting to climate change. Read the paper in “eLife” and the press release at Senckenberg. (Drone pilot: Volker Heymann/Photo: Markus Pfenninger)

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Giraffe genomics support four species
05.05.

Giraffe genomics support four species

Visually, they are hardly distinguishable, but genetic analyses show: There are four distinct species of giraffe and seven subspecies. This result was obtained by an international team led by Prof. Dr. Axel Janke from the LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics. According to their comprehensive genome analyses, the four giraffe lineages have been evolving separately for thousands of years. Relationships within the genus of giraffes have been debated before. For a long time, it was assumed that there was one, then four and later three species. The study published in the scientific journal “Current Biology” provides new insights into the evolution of giraffes and relevant information for their adequate conservation in Africa. Read the article in „Current Biology” and the press release at Senckenberg. (Photo: Julian Fennessy, Giraffe Conservation Foundation)

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Genome of a raccoon dog sequenced - potential reservoir host of SARS-CoV-2
04.05.

Genome of a raccoon dog sequenced – potential reservoir host of SARS-CoV-2

Researchers from the LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics (TBG) have sequenced the genome of a raccoon dog for the first time. Genetic data support its potential to transmit SARS-CoV-2. Being native to East Asia, racoon dogs have spread widely over Europe and are currently listed in asan invasive species in Germany. Raccoon dogs are closely related to foxes and known to carry various viruses that can be transferred to humans. The study suggests that the raccoon dog could also be a reservoir host for coronaviruses. Read the article in the scientific journal “Frontiers in Genetics” and the press release at Senckenberg (Photo: Dorian D. Dörge)

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Millions of tiny fungi species so far unnamed
28.04.

Millions of tiny fungi species so far unnamed

Millions of small fungi species do not yet have names, including pathogens for humans, animals and plants. But that could change soon. A team of researchers has now presented new ways of naming fungi. Prof. Dr. Marco Thines from the LOEWE Center for Translational Biodiversity Genomics (TBG) and leading international systematists collaborated on the project. So-called microfungi are partly only known from genetic analyses of environmental samples, such as soil samples. Common identification keys are not suitable for them. The methods presented in the journal “Nature Microbiology” are based on the naming of bacteria and molecular genetic properties.. Read the article in “Nature Microbiology” and the press release at Senckenberg. (Photo: Marco Thines)

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Skin deep: When mammals re-entered water
06.04.

Skin deep: When mammals re-entered water

New insights in the evolution of mammals when re-entering water: The smooth, nearly hairless skin of whales and hippos look similar, but evolved independently. This is revealed by genomic and anatomical analyses partly conducted by Michael Hiller at LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics. The skin of these mammals fine-tuned for life in the water was long assumed to have come from a shared amphibious ancestor. The study published in “Current Biology” contradicts this assumption. It rather suggests that the last common ancestor was land-dwelling. Hence “aquatic” skin with specific adaptions developed more than once in mammal’s phylogeny. Read the article in “Current Biology” and the press release at Senckenberg (Photo: Zoo Duisburg gGmbH)

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Excellent plant protection: Heitefuß Award for TBG-PI Marco Thines
18.03.

Excellent plant protection: Heitefuß Award for TBG-PI Marco Thines

The German Phytomedical Society e.V. (DPG) awards TBG-PI Prof. Dr. Marco Thines of the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center in Frankfurt a prize for his research on filamentous pathogens. The Rudolf Heitefuß Preis is awarded for outstanding scientific achievements. Thines is studying the diversity of plant pathogens and their hosts. For example, he investigates oomycetes, a group that includes pathogens causing widespread plant diseases such as late blight of potatoes and tomatoes and downy mildew. Worldwide, plant-parasitic oomycetes and blight fungi cause losses in the billions every year. Despite their economic importance, only a fraction of their actual biodiversity has been discovered to date. At LOEWE-TBG Thines leads the project “Landscape genomics of plant-pathogen interactions”. Read press release at Senckenberg.

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Project seeks to replace the use of animal components in toxicology research
19.02.

Project seeks to replace the use of animal components in toxicology research

Prof. Henner Hollert und Dr. Andreas Schiwy from the Department for Evolutionary Ecology and Environmental Toxicology at Goethe University and the LOEWE Centre TBG, together with the environmental toxicologist Prof. Beate Escher from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig (UFZ) and the companies BiodetectionsSystems in Amsterdam and Scinora in Heidelberg seek to find alternatives to animal components in toxicology research such as serum or liver cell tisses. Their project won the “CRACK IT” innovation challenge by NC3Rs, a British organisation that works to reduce reliance on animal models in research. The challenge is sponsored by AstraZeneca and Unilever.

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Holotype of newly discovered snake species sequenced at LOEWE-Centre TBG
15.02.

Holotype of newly discovered snake species sequenced at LOEWE-Centre TBG

Senckenberg scientist Prof. Dr. Gunther Köhler and an international team from East Yangon University in Myanmar discovered a new species of mud snake. Morphological and genetic analyses showed that Myanophis thanlyinensis belongs to a genus so far unknown to science, the team recently reported in the journal “Zootaxa”. The genome of the holotype is already available for further research: it was sequenced as a novel digital taxonomic resource at the LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics.

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Argonauta argo - Mollusc of the Year 2021
01.02.

Argonauta argo – Mollusc of the Year 2021

The Mollusc of the Year 2021 has been announced today, February 1, 2021 by Prof. Julia Sigwart, Section leader at the Malacology Department of the Senckenberg Museum, Dr. Carola Greve Lab manager of the LOEWE-Centre TBG, Dr. Tilman Schell, Bioinformatician of the LOEWE-Centre TBG, and Prof. Dr. Yasunori Kano, secretary of the worldwide society for Mollusc Research (Unitas Malacologica).

The Mollusc of the Year 2021 was selected from over 120 nominations submitted by international researchers and members of the public. The jury then selected five species that entered the second round as finalists. During this final round, the LOEWE-Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics website was open for the public to votes.
The title “Mollusc of the Year 2021” was won by the Greater Argonaut (Argonauta argo). As a prize, Argonauta argo will get its whole genome sequenced at the LOEWE-Centre TBG

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2020

Partial autonomy. How species separate, but not entirely
09.11.

Partial autonomy. How species separate, but not entirely

TBG press release on a publication in the journal Evolution Letters

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Measuring and monitoring biodiversity with molecular biological methods. Functional Environmental Genomics in Focus: Joint appointment of the University of Giessen and the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research
24.09.

Measuring and monitoring biodiversity with molecular biological methods. Functional Environmental Genomics in Focus: Joint appointment of the University of Giessen and the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research

SGN/JLU press release on the appointment of PD Dr. rer. nat. Miklós Bálint as Professor and Head of the Project Area Functional Environmental Genomics of the LOEWE Centre for Translational BiodiversityGenomics (TBG)

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22.07.

Promising biomolecules discovered from the unusual venom of the wasp spider

Press release of the Justus-Liebig-University of Gießen on a publication of the TBG research group “Animal Venomics” in the journal “Biomolecules”; in German)

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25.02.

TBG-Press release regarding the international conference

4th Annual Meeting in Conservation Genetics – From Genomes to Application“ held in Frankfurt am Main from 26.-28.02.2020 at the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum (press release in German)

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2019

17.10.

TBG-Press release regarding the Nature Microbiology-Publication of Prof. Helge B. Bode

A deeper look into the treasure chest within microbes published in the online-magazine of Goethe-University Frankfurt

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2018

05.04.

Press release of the Goethe-University Frankfurt (in German)

Blauwal-Erbgut enthüllt Paarung über Artgrenzen hinweg

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08.03.

Press release of the Frankfurter Rundschau (in German)

Hessische Forscher wollen den Code allen Lebens knacken – Startschuss für LOEWE-Forschungszentrum

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2017

05.07.

Press release of the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts (in German)

Wissenschaftler erhalten 66,5 Millionen Euro aus dem Forschungsförderprogramm LOEWE

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