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Gregor Mendel Institute

Wild vervet monkeys (genus Chlorocebus) are frequently infected by the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV), a close relative of HIV. However, they do not progress to AIDS. A scientific study published today in the journal Nature Genetics suggests that vervets have long co-evolved with SIV and acquired genetic adaptations that protect them from immunodeficiency.



For most people, the simple liverwort, a moss-like shrub, is a common garden nuisance. For Frederic Berger of the Gregor Mendel Institute for Molecular Plant Biology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, this plant is a key to understanding the evolution of all land plants.


In an article published in Science, Dr. Danhua Jiang, a postdoc in the lab of Dr. Frederic Berger, puzzles out the molecular mechanism that leads to the faithful transmission of the epigentic mark H3K27me3.


It was announced today that Frederic Berger was elected as a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation. Along with two other members from the VBC, 65 researchers were elected to EMBO membership this year. “Election to the EMBO Membership is recognition of research excellence, and I am pleased to welcome so many great scientists to our organisation,” says EMBO Director Maria Leptin.


Dr. Claude Becker, a junior group leader at the GMI, has received a €1.5M ERC Starting Grant for his work on allelopathy, a process whereby plants release toxic compunds into the environment to slow the growth of competing plants. This grant, Function and Evolution of Attack and Response Strategies during Allelopathy in Plants (FEAR-SAP), aims to identify the molecular mechanisms underpinning this process, the genetic reasons plants are resistant or susceptible to certain chemicals, and the effect of the microbiome on this process.


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