Botany and Molecular Evolution

Grunelius-Möllgaard Laboratory for Molecular Evolution

The Grunelius-Möllgaard Laboratory is run by the Division of Botany and Molecular Evolution and is open to all scientists at Senckenberg Research Institute.

The lab offers internal researchers as well as external cooperators (e. g. guest researchers) an opportunity to generate molecular data for projects on the systematics, evolution and diversity of organisms. It provides modern equipment enabling up to 10 simultaneous users to study genetic diversity at all levels. An associated collection of DNA-isolates (DNA Bank) serves as a documentation of genetic diversity and complements the voucher collections deposited in Senckenberg. The research projects to a major extent fall into the field “Biodiversity, Systematics and Evolution“.

About the lab

In 2004-2005, a generous financial support from the Ernst Max von Grunelius-Stiftung and the Marga und Kurt Möllgaard-Stiftung made it possible to build and equip the lab, which is named after the donors. Substantial funding was also granted by the federal state of Hessen.

The Grunelius-Möllgaard Lab offers researchers the opportunity to isolate DNA from a variety of organisms and to perform DNA sequence and fragment analyses (AFLP, RAPD, SSR). Senckenberg scientists, (post-)doctoral students, graduate students and guest researchers use the lab in order to assess the genetic diversity of various organisms, to elucidate their systematic relationships as well as to reconstruct underlying evolutionary processes. In this way, DNA data serve to explain the genetic background of the colorful variety of life-forms and nature in general. Molecular methods are also used to study applied questions, addressing regional or global conservation issues as well as issues concerning the impact of the climate change.

The permanent staff of the lab consists of a technical assistant (Heike Kappes) and a lab management (Dr. Julia Gerasimova). Technical assistant, lab manager, the lab supervisor (Dr. Christian Printzen) and the Chair of the Division of Botany and Molecular Evolution (Prof. Dr. Stefan Wanke) cooperate to secure optimal working conditions and to further develop the technical expertise of the lab. Project PIs are individually responsible for planning, funding and conducting their research projects. The lab provides technical equipment and bench space, logistic support by ordering consumables, troubleshooting expertise and carries out the DNA-sequencing.

The permanent staff and the lab facilities are also involved in DNA Bank as well as in teaching activities of the Goethe University (practical course on Molecular Systematics) and Senckenberg School for technical assistants.