TBG-Project Markus Pfenninger and Team

Functional Environmental Genomics

Influence of anthropogenic substances on the germ cell mutation rate​

Institution: Senckenberg Society for Nature Research


  • Prof. Dr. Markus Pfenninger
  • Dr. Halina Binde-Doria (TBG-Postdoc)
  • Dr. Ann-Marie Waldvogel 
  • Dr. Barbara Feldmeyer (Postdoc on ant genomics)
  • Dr. Luis Chueca (Postdoc-stipend on the hybridization of land snails)
  • Dennis Lüders (PhD student on hybridization of midges, cats and snails)


Basically nothing is known about the mutagenic potential of most anthropogenic substances on the genomes of higher organisms, because current tests are inadequate. In our TBG project, we want to use a recently developed mutation rate estimation approach to change this and finally establish this test as ecotox test in standard substance testing. Besides aiming to change the current paradigm of ecotoxicological testing, the project will also significantly contribute to our basic understanding of the mutation process as indispensable precondition of all organismic evolution. 


We are using NGS techniques to build reference
genomes of non-model organisms, re-sequence
individuals and/or population pools. In addition, RNA-seq
is used depending on the scientific question.Other core
competences include v) environmental association studies and ecological and
evolutionary experiments. The data are usually analysed in a population genomics
framework with state-of-the-art methods. 


Juliane Hartke, Ann-Marie Waldvogel, Philipp Peter Sprenger, Thomas Schmitt, Florian Menzel, Markus Pfenninger, Barbara Feldmeyer: Little parallelism in genomic signatures of local adaptation in two sympatric, cryptic sister species IN: Journal of Evolutionary Biology, November 2020

Dennis Schreiber, Markus Pfenninger: Genomic divergence landscape in recurrently hybridizing Chironomus sister taxa suggests stable steady state between mutual gene flow and isolation IN: Evolution Letters, November 2020

Friederike Reus, Aljoscha Kreß, Markus Braun, Axel Magdeburg, Markus Pfenninger, Ruth Müller & Marion Mehring: Knowledge on exotic mosquitoes in Germany, and public acceptance and effectiveness of Bti and two self-prepared insecticides against Aedes japonicus japonicus IN. Scientific Reports, November 2020

Halina Binde Doria, Markus Pfenninger:
 A multigenerational approach can detect early Cd pollution in Chironomus riparius IN: Chemosphere, August 2020

Ann-Marie Waldvogel, Dennis Schreiber, Markus Pfenninger, Barbara Feldmeyer: Climate Change Genomics Calls for Standardized Data Reporting IN: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, July 2020

Hanno Schmidt, Sören Lukas Hellmann, Ann-Marie Waldvogel, Barbara Feldmeyer, Thomas Hankeln, Markus Pfenninger:  A High-Quality Genome Assembly from Short and Long Reads for the Non-biting Midge Chironomus riparius (Diptera) IN: G3-Genes Genomes Genetics, February 2020

Ann-Marie Waldvogel, Barbara Feldmeyer, Gregor Rolshausen, Robert Kofler, Thomas Mock, Karl Schmid, Imke Schmitt, Thomas Battalion, Outi Savolainen, Alan Bergland, Thomas Flatt, Frédéric Guillaume, Markus Pfenninger: Evolutionary genomics can improve prediction of species’ responses to climate change IN: Evolution Letters 4(1), January 2020