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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

May 19, 2015. We are saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. John M. Templeton Jr., president and chairman of the John Templeton Foundation. His contributions to discovery and inquiry, including some at the FfAME, will be missed.

April 22, 2015. FfAME announced today that the John Templeton Foundation has awarded the FfAME $5.4 million to support research to explore the origins of life on Earth. In addition to supporting work in Alachua County, the FfAME will direct an open competition from scientists worldwide to propose innovative solutions to this long standing question. Click here to read more.

March 21, 2015. Steven Benner will join speakers who are working to expand the genetic alphabet to present FfAME's recent work. The presentation is on the morning of Monday, March 23rd, at the American Chemical Society meeting in Denver.

March 19, 2015. Steven Benner will join experts in astrobiology and religion in a Blumberg discussion at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, covering the topic: "Astrobiology and the Religious Imagination: Reexamining Notions of Creation, Humanity, Selfhood, and the Cosmos" The discussion is open to the public, and will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, in room LJ-119, on the first floor of the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.

January 18, 2015. On January 24, the Florida Museum of Natural History will be hosting Sue, the famous Tyrannosaurus rex visiting Gainesville from the Field Museum in Chicago. FfAME will be there, showcasing its "Jurassic Park" research. This includes work resurrecting proteins from our primate ancestors that first allowed us to imbibe alcohol, the ancient yeast that first created alcohol on Earth, and from ancient ruminants responding to climate change. 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM.

January 12, 2015. Expertise of the staff at the FfAME concerning the origin of life was called upon last month to comment on new results, emerging from the Czech Republic, on how meteorite impact might have led to the formation of small amounts of the building blocks essential for RNA, believed to be the first genetic molecule. See the article on the Science website.

December 18, 2014. The American Association for the Advancement of Science has just announced the election of Steven A. Benner as one of its 2014 Fellows. Steven Benner is President and Distinguished Fellow at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution (FfAME), a nonprofit research organization in Gainesville. In support of its awarding this prestigious honor by America's oldest scientific society, the AAAS cited Dr. Benner's pioneering work in many fields, including paleogenetics, synthetic biology, evolutionary bioinformatics, human medicine, and space exploration. Dr. Benner joins six other Fellows elected this year from the Gainesville scientific community, including Cammy Abernathy, Robert Cousins, Andrew Hanson, Ann Progulske-Fox, and Wolfgang M. Sigmund, all at the University of Florida, and Bruce McFadden, also at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Press Coverage

Science Magazine: Humankind descended from the trees to get a beer
December 1, 2014

Malaria Nexus: The Malaria Genome Exploration Tool (MaGnET)
September 20, 2013

LiveScience: LiveScience and arsenic-based life
February 1, 2012

Chemical and Engineering News: More on arsenic-based life
January 23, 2012

BBC News: Searching for the origins of life... and our future
November 7, 2011

Odyssey Magazine: The Alien Discovery that Wasn't
June 27, 2011

Chemical & Engineering News: Arsenic Bacterium Debate Continues
June 6, 2011

New Scientist: Arsenic-based bacteria: Fact or fiction?
May 27, 2011

New York Times: A Romp Into Theories of the Cradle of Life
February 21, 2011

Tech News World: Weird Earthly Life-Form Means Rethinking the Hunt for ET
February 21, 2011

We thank NASA and STScI for the image of the Milky Way.
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