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Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution


The last half century of medical research has placed chemical structures behind much of biology, including human disease, the human genome, and the origin of life. Scientists at the Foundation have contributed broadly to these activities through innovative and polydisciplinary research in fields as diverse as chemistry, informatics, biology, geology, and astronomy. We are now taking the next steps, to place biological chemistry within its larger "systems" context, from the cell to the organism, and from there to the ecosystem and the planet. Emerging from this are new tools for systems biology and personalized medicine, as well as answers to some "big" questions: Where did we come from? What is our future? Are we alone?

Latest News and Events

September 5, 2017. Los Alamos scientists announced today the discovery of borate on Mars, as reported by phys.org.

April 23, 2017. The FfAME will be hosting a panel of experts at AbSciCon 2017 to discuss how they combine geology with organic chemistry to understand how life might have originated here on Earth, and how it might look if encountered elsewhere. This event is open to the public with no registration required. Full details about this event can be found here.

February 24, 2017. FfAME Director Steven Benner is cited on Biotechniques.com describing the new strategy to understand how life works, not by "descriptive biology", but by building living Darwinian systems from the ground up.

February 16, 2017. The State of Florida has just gone forward with a project to develop a point-of-sampling test for the Zika, dengue, and other mosquito-borne viruses, developed and implemented at the FfAME by Ozlem Yaren, Zunyi Yang, Kevin Bradley, and Shuichi Hoshika. That test is now being shipped to India for detection of emerging pathogens. Barry Alto, from the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory and the University of Florida, is a collaborator. More details can be found here.

February 16, 2017. A FfAME-developed test was yesterday the topic of a report on WCJB, the ABC television and news affiliate in Gainesville Florida.

February 2, 2017. The cover story of National Geographic magazine's February 2017 edition reports on the role of alcohol in human evolution, citing the paleogenetics work done at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution resurrecting ancestral enzymes that digest imbibed alcohols. Using the research strategy that is the signature of the Foundation, ancestral enzymes from now extinct primates living as long ago as 80 million years were brought back to life to show that humans acquired a taste for ethanol about seven years ago, just as they were beginning to walk upright. For more, see the entire article at National Geographic.

December 14, 2016. On December 13, NASA scientists working with the Mars exploration vehicle in Gale Crater announced the discovery of borate minerals on the Red Planet. See this segment starting at 27 minutes. This discovery completes the inventory of minerals needed for life to have originated on Mars under a theory developed at the FfAME.

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