Research projects

Various research teams in the Netherlands are working on parts of the Research Agenda. The results of these teams help us better understand the origins and evolution of life. The Origins Center stimulates new forms of collaboration that transcend disciplines. In progressive projects that lead to striking results.

Funded by the Origins Center

Why did cells start working together?

Living cells started working together over time, probably because it increased their chance of survival. But working together also involves a division of tasks and distribution of food and energy. Ultimately, multicellular life led to increasingly complex life forms. How did the first collaboration of cells work and why did it become a success?

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Funded by the Origins Center

Is there life on other planets?

To determine whether an exoplanet holds extraterrestrial life, we can look at its atmosphere. This is done through the light we receive from an exo-planet on Earth. That light contains information about the composition of the atmosphere. But what substances should we be looking for in particular?

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Funded by the Origins Center

Which self-replicating systems contributed to the formation of a living cell?

We want to know which steps led to the first living primordial cell. There are known inanimate chemical systems that can replicate themselves. This research project investigates which chemical self-replicating systems may have led to cell division in the first living cell.

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Funded by the Origins Center

How can we better understand big steps in evolution?

Sometimes evolutionary development is not slow and gradual, but sudden and revolutionary. An example of this is the transition from cells with a single genome to cells with multiple chromosomes. How do cells maintain stability through such drastic changes?

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Funded by the Origins Center

Can we predict evolution?

It is about time that evolutionary biology develops into a predictive science. It would also be interesting if we could steer evolution. Much has already been achieved in the field of short-term predictions, but great challenges force us to look to the long term.

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Funded by the Origins Center

How did life get started?

Life probably originated in hot springs, deep in the sea. This experimental simulation can show how inanimate chemistry can change into a first form of biochemistry in a world full of energy around these thermal springs.

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