Structure and Function

Using numerous traditional and new methods (imaging techniques, OMICS, etc.), the Research Activity “Structure and Function” initially examines how organisms are structured and how these structures enable certain functions. This includes all structural levels: skeletons, musculature, organ systems, tissues, cell architecture, genomes, genes, and metabolism, and the studies involve both recent and fossil organisms. Building on these results, we examine the structural and functional differences as well as shared traits between various organisms and how structures and functions have changed in the course of evolution. A central issue in this context is the clarification of homologies. This results in drawing up evolutionary scenarios, understanding structures on a biomechanical level, and developing new systems of taxonomically or systematically important characters for RA 1.1. Due to the establishment of LOEWE-TBG , this RA’s profile is currently being greatly expanded by studies regarding the structure and function of genomes and genes (basal structural level). This also allows studies regarding the correlation between genomic and phenotypical structural levels and thus the development of complex evolutionary scenarios.

Finally, the transfer of results from structural and functional analyses to practical applications is also relevant. For example, conclusions about the teeth of primates, including humans, are incorporated into digital dentistry; knowledge about the insects’ skeletal muscle system serves as a creative pool for technical exoskeletons and designs; and functional studies regarding the genome provide new natural materials for various application areas.