It is well understood that natural variation is abundant within and between species. The neutral theory of molecular evolution suggests that the effect of most of mutations is so small that they can be considered as neutral. Recent evidence, however, demonstrated that a large proportion of natural variation seems to be of functional importance, possibly involved in adaptation to the environment.
The research focus of the Institut für Populationsgenetik is directed towards understanding and characterizing the functional importance of natural variation. Combining the powerful genetics of Drosophila melanogaster with the analysis of natural and experimental populations provides the core research of the institute, but we also pursue projects on other species.
We host the FWF doctoral program Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics. The institute enjoys and greatly benefits from the cultural, ethnic and scientific diversity of its members.