Laboratory of Artificial & Natural Evolution

Welcome to the Milinkovitch-Tzika lab website (the Laboratory of Artificial & Natural Evolution — LANE). In a nutshell, our highly multidisciplinary team of biologists, bioinformaticians, physicists, computer scientists and mathematicians investigates the developmental and evolutionary mechanisms generating Life’s complexity and diversity (or maybe should I say ‘Life’s Beauty’). We study multiple non-classical model species, mainly reptiles and ‘exotic’ mammals, that can inform us on yet unknown exciting biological and physical processes generating this complex and diverse living world.

Central to our reasoning is that a proper understanding of the complexity and diversity of organismal forms cannot be achieved without integrating the physical constrains acting on the developmental and Darwinian processes. Our research requires integrating data and methods from comparative genomics, molecular developmental genetics, as well as physical experiments, mathematical modelling and numerical simulations. More specifically, we investigate the interactions between physical (mechanics, reaction-diffusion) and biological (cell signalling, proliferation) processes that generate and constrain the variety and complexity of skin appendages (scales, hairs, spines), skin colours (pigmentary and structural), and skin colour patterns in tetrapods (four-limbed vertebrates).

Use the navigation bar at the top of the page, to explore our research topics (what we do), our scientific approach and animal models (how we do it), our scientific motivation (why we do it), and our team (who does it).

What's new?

  • Scale-to-feather conversion in the chicken embryo

    May 18th, 2023

    We show how manipulation of the Shh pathway triggers scale-to-feather transition.

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  • The secret behind the Nikon Photomicrography 1st prize revealed

    April 3rd, 2023

    We publish today a new method that provides unmatched visualisation of collagen 3D network architecture.

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  • Predicting colour patterns without knowing the details

    December 7th, 2022

    Timothy E. Saunders & Antónia Monteiro discuss in a ‘dispatch' article the importance on our recent results on skin colour patterning.

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  • It makes the cover of Current Biology

    December 5th, 2022

    Our quantitative analysis of scale-by-scale patterning in multiple species of lizards makes the cover of Current Biology

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