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Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology focuses on matters regarding the origins of humankind. The Institute’s researchers study widely-differing aspects of human evolution. They analyse the genes, cultures and cognitive abilities of people living today and compare them with those of apes and extinct peoples. Scientists from various disciplines work closely together at the Institute: Geneticists trace the genetic make-up of extinct species, such as Neanderthals. Behaviourists and ecologists, for their part, study the behaviour of apes and other mammals.

Director, Department of Genetics
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
August 10, 2023
NOMIS Awardee and Nobel Laureate Svante Pääbo has, together with fellow researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, described improvements in the methods with which […]
May 31, 2023
NOMIS Awardee and Nobel laureate Svante Pääbo and colleagues have described a method to detect unintended on-target effects in CRISPR genome editing by DNA donors carrying diagnostic substitutions. Their findings […]
October 3, 2022
NOMIS Awardee Svante Pääbo has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2022 “for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution.” Through his pioneering […]
September 12, 2022
A collaborative research effort by NOMIS Awardee Svante Pääbo and colleagues shows that the modern human has more neocortex to work with than the ancient Neandertal did. Their findings were […]
July 11, 2022
NOMIS Awardee Svante Pääbo, Hugo Zeberg and colleagues discovered that two of the most important genetic variants influencing the the ability to eliminate drugs are inherited from Neandertals. These variants […]
April 20, 2022
NOMIS Awardee Svante Pääbo received the 2020 Japan Prize at a ceremony in Tokyo on April 13, 2022. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 and 2021 prizes were presented […]
May 4, 2021
NOMIS Awardee Svante Pääbo and colleagues have published the results of their research, “Reduced purine biosynthesis in humans after their divergence from Neandertals,” in eLife. Abstract We analyze the metabolomes […]
February 22, 2021
NOMIS Awardee Svante Pääbo and colleague Hugo Zeberg have discovered a protective Neandertal gene variant that reduces the risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19. Last year, researchers at Karolinska […]
December 31, 2020
NOMIS Awardee Svante Pääbo and colleagues developed a very efficient PCR test that pools gargle lavage samples. The test was implemented in a retirement home and was used to test […]
December 1, 2022
Abstract: The first step in CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome editing is the cleavage of target DNA sequences that are complementary to so-called spacer sequences in CRISPR guide RNAs (gRNAs). However, some DNA sequences […]
July 29, 2022
Abstract: Since the ancestors of modern humans separated from those of Neanderthals, around 100 amino acid substitutions spread to essentially all modern humans. The biological significance of these changes is largely […]
July 1, 2022
Abstract: Genetic variation in genes encoding cytochrome P450 enzymes influences the metabolism of drugs and endogenous compounds. The locus containing the cytochrome genes CYP2C8 and CYP2C9 on chromosome 10 exhibits linkage […]
July 1, 2022
Abstract: Proteins associated with the spindle apparatus, a cytoskeletal structure that ensures the proper segregation of chromosomes during cell division, experienced an unusual number of amino acid substitutions in modern humans […]
May 1, 2021
Abstract: We analyze the metabolomes of humans, chimpanzees, and macaques in muscle, kidney and three different regions of the brain. Although several compounds in amino acid metabolism occur at either higher […]
March 2, 2021
Abstract: It was recently shown that the major genetic risk factor associated with becoming severely ill with COVID-19 when infected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is inherited from […]
November 26, 2020
Abstract: A recent genetic association study1 identified a gene cluster on chromosome 3 as a risk locus for respiratory failure after infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). A separate […]
September 7, 2020
Abstract: The sodium channel Nav1.7 is crucial for impulse generation and conduction in peripheral pain pathways [1]. In Neanderthals, the Nav1.7 protein carried three amino acid substitutions (M932L, V991L, and D1908G) […]
July 14, 2020
Abstract: Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from diverse humans offer the potential to study human functional variation in controlled culture environments. A portion of this variation originates from an ancient admixture […]
November 4, 2019
Abstract: When double-strand breaks are introduced in a genome by CRISPR they are repaired either by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ), which often results in insertions or deletions (indels), or by homology-directed […]
October 17, 2019
Abstract: The human brain has undergone substantial change since humans diverged from chimpanzees and the other great apes1,2. However, the genetic and developmental programs that underlie this divergence are not fully […]
January 7, 2019
Abstract: One of the features that distinguishes modern humans from our extinct relatives and ancestors is a globular shape of the braincase [1–4]. As the endocranium closely mirrors the outer shape […]