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) mechanisms 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?

  • The snake in the white suit

    February 17th, 2021

    We sequence the Texas Rat Snake genome and suggest that a regulatory mutation of MITF causes the leucistic phenotype.

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  • It makes the cover of PNAS

    October 20th, 2020

    Our study on snakes chromatophores published online two weeks ago makes the cover of the printed version of PNAS

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  • Our study on snake chromatophores in PNAS

    October 6th, 2020

    We sequence/annotate the corn snake genome and show that coloured vesicles in all chromatophores are lysosome-related organelles.

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  • National Geographic Readers: Animals That Change Color

    April 27th, 2020

    Michel Milinkovitch served as the scientific advisor for the content of this issue of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS magazine.

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