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About the project

Welcome!

The aim of this web site is to foster the interest and curiosity of a public of all ages about the evolution of species, a fundamental but rather abstract topic.

Concrete questions are addressed: What do humans and banana have in common? Why is it important to study the evolution of coronaviruses? What is the link between tyrannosaurus and chicken?

You will find a series of stories on these topics (and more) in the Stories section and, as well as related interactive workshops in the section Your turn to play.

Important terms are defined in the Glossary.

If you need more in-depth information on the concepts of biology, evolution and bioinformatics that are covered, you can consult the Introduction section.

New stories and activities are to be discovered throughout the next 3 years! Subscribe now to be informed when new stories come out.
You can use our contact form to send us your thoughts and feedback and don’t forget to share your experiences on social media!

This website was launched on November 24, 2021, on ‘Evolution Day’, the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s publication ‘On the Origin of Species’, published on November 24, 1859.

About us

Christophe Dessimoz

Christophe Dessimoz, Associate Professor, University of Lausanne and Group Leader, SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

As a child, I loved eating watermelons and marvelled that Nature had produced such delicious food. It’s only much later that I learned that wild watermelons are tough and bitter. I still love watermelons, but now I marvel at the awesome power of selective breeding—a kind of experimental evolution.

I loved my student life à l'ETH de Zurich. at ETH Zurich. I initially pursued a major in biotechnology because “technology” sounded cool. But with the emergence of the first few sequenced genomes and my long-standing interest for computers, it didn't take long for me to turn to bioinformatics!

Destiny is merely a coping strategy! But I feel very lucky to be working on this outreach project with fantastic collaborators.

To be a good scientist, it helps to be optimistic, resilient, and resourceful. But science is a collaborative endeavour and there are many different kinds of good scientists.

Natasha Glover

Research scientist, Dessimoz group, SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

As a child, I liked science, especially when it came to plants. I planted some beans in the backyard and was amazed to see them grow.

I loved my student life at Virginia Tech in the US. I started by studying Crop and Soil Environmental Science so I could learn about agriculture, and then I studied Plant Genomics because I love genomes. When I moved to Europe, I decided to study bioinformatics because computers are the future!

Destiny? After the PhD, I moved to France to fulfil my childhood dreams of living abroad (which came from watching too many Disney movies). I studied the wheat genome at the French Research Institute for Agriculture, and then after a few years moved to Belgium to work at Bayer Crop Science. During that time, I started collaborating with Prof. Christophe Dessimoz at the University of Lausanne. Once I saw Lake Geneva I became hooked on Switzerland and the rest is history!

To be a good scientist, one must question everything and realize there’s still so much to learn.

Monique SIB

Monique Zahn

Training manager and neXtProt quality manager, SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

As a child, I was fascinated by everything that happened around me. There were so many interesting things.

I loved my student life and my studies in chemistry and biochemistry at McMaster University in Canada. It allowed me to discover the molecules of life, to develop a computerized organic chemistry system and to meet very diverse people.

Destiny? I hesitated for a long time between studying science and French literature. After my post-doc, my job as Assistant Editor enabled me to use my interest in literature to communicate better about science.

To be a good scientist, one must be curious, perseverant - all the while questioning oneself - and work with mentors at the frontiers of science who push you to do better.

Marie-Claude SIB

Marie-Claude Blatter


Marie-Claude Blatter, Outreach manager, Swiss-Prot group, SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

As a child, I loved asking questions… I needed to understand how things worked!

I loved my student life and my studies in biochemistry at the University of Geneva. Working on several courses at a time, being able to tell myself ‘yes, I think I have understood!'.

Destiny? Chance encounters are very important to one’s professional life: but one has to be ready to seize the opportunities that present themselves. After 10 years of doing basic research, I met by chance, at the Christmas market, Amos Bairoch, the creator of the UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot database. That’s how I got a start in the world of databases and bioinformatics! I consider I had a lot of luck to be able to access all this information, all these new technologies, and to tie together all I have learned... .

To be a good scientist, one must be curious, like to share with others, not take things too seriously, and above all never believe one knows everything!

Andries Hannaart

BSc Computer Science, Self-employed @ andries.ch

As a child, I liked computers, music, and being outdoors, like visiting nearby forests and eating the fruit that we were growing in our backyard. There was an assortment of berries, grapes and pears.

I loved my student life at the University of Applied Sciences in Leiden, The Netherlands. I studied Computer Science and did a minor in Multimedia and Design where I could use my passion for design and music.

Destiny? After my study, I had the chance to go abroad to Toronto, Canada where I worked at a tech startup and I was fortunate to work with some really talented people. Canada also has, like Switzerland, some amazing flora and fauna which was great to explore. After almost 7 years the opportunity came along to move to Switzerland where Prof. Christophe Dessimoz contacted me to help out with the graphic design for several of their projects. These projects are always insightful and lots of fun to work on.

Acknowledgements

Prof Richard Neher

Microbial Evolution (Nextstrain.org)
Biozentrum Basel
SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

Dr Emma Hodcroft

Multidisciplinary Center for Infectious Diseases (Nextstrain.org)
University of Bern

Dr Philippe LeMercier

Swiss-Prot group (Viralzone.expasy.org)
SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

Prof Amos Bairoch : review; Calipho group, SIB, UNIGE

Lucas Anchieri: input in Ancient Greek mysteries; Group of Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas, SIB, UNIL

Florian Clemente: input in Ancient Greek mysteries; Group of Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas, SIB, UNIL

Lionel Guérin: review and didactics – Teacher Life and Earth Sciences, Ecole Jeannine Manuel, Paris XV

Samuel Moix: workshop animation, input in Ancient Greek mysteries; Group of Zoltan Kutalik, SIB, UNIL

Béatrice Pichon: workshop animation, Instagram; Group of Giovanni Ciriello, SIB, UNIL

Victor Rossier:: input in Ancient Greek mysteries; Group of Robinson Rechavi and Christophe Dessimoz, SIB, UNIL

Clément Train : input in Ancient Greek mysteries; Group of Christophe Dessimoz, SIB, UNIL

This project received the Optimus Agora Prize 2021

The SNSF Optimus Agora Prize recognizes the communication potential of the winning project, chosen among the projects submitted.

Optimus Agora (FNS)

Contact

Interested in a workshop conducted by one of our SIB experts? In your classroom or elsewhere? Do you have questions? Suggestions? Ideas for a story? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Contact In the Light of Evolution

KEEP ME POSTED

Send me an email when a new stories become available.

‘In The Light Of Evolution’ portal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

To cite us:
Editorial staff:  SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and
University of Lausanne
Graphic design: www.andries.ch
© 2021 SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

Some texts or images were taken from the following web sites:
ChromosomeWalk.ch
Editorial staff: SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics
Graphic design: Atelier Poisson
© 2020 SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

PrecisionMed.ch
Editorial staff: SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, University of Lausanne and CHUV.
Graphic design: Atelier Poisson
© 2019 SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

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