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 investigate 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 LANE is in the National Geographic

    February 28th, 2019

    Our work on the African elephant skin is highlighted in the National Geographic Magazine.

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  • How bird feather patterns form

    February 21st, 2019

    How are feathers formed and what determines their number and distribution on the skin?

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  • Cracking the reason for channels on elephant’s skin

    October 2nd, 2018

    The network of channels on the surface of the skin of the African bush elephant is a consequence of physical cracks during epidermal growth

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  • The NCCR SwissMap

    July 30th, 2018

    This program fosters research at the crossroads between mathematics and theoretical physics … and some biology

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