The Gene Expression Facility is equipped and experienced with qRT-PCR analysis. We offer analysis and service for any type of qRT-PCR related projects, starting with nucleic acid isolation, sample quality control, cDNA synthesis, experimental design, execution of the experiments, data analysis and data storage.​​​


  • Comprehensive qRT-PCR proficiency
  • Professional support, teaching, and training
  • High throughput screening and large-scale data analysis
  • Experimental design and assay development


  • Agilent Bioanalyzer
  • Thermo Scientific NanoDrop One
  • Roche Light Cycler 96


* joint first author # joint corresponding author

Yoko Arai, Jeremy N. Pulvers, Christiane Haffner, Britta Schilling, Ina Nüsslein, Federico Calegari, Wieland B. Huttner
Neural stem and progenitor cells shorten S-phase on commitment to neuron production.
Nat Commun, 2 Art. No. 154 (2011)
During mammalian cerebral cortex development, the G1-phase of the cell cycle is known to lengthen, but it has been unclear which neural stem and progenitor cells are affected. In this paper, we develop a novel approach to determine cell-cycle parameters in specific classes of neural stem and progenitor cells, identified by molecular markers rather than location. We found that G1 lengthening was associated with the transition from stem cell-like apical progenitors to fate-restricted basal (intermediate) progenitors. Unexpectedly, expanding apical and basal progenitors exhibit a substantially longer S-phase than apical and basal progenitors committed to neuron production. Comparative genome-wide gene expression analysis of expanding versus committed progenitor cells revealed changes in key factors of cell-cycle regulation, DNA replication and repair and chromatin remodelling. Our findings suggest that expanding neural stem and progenitor cells invest more time during S-phase into quality control of replicated DNA than those committed to neuron production.

Alex T. Kalinka✳︎, Karolina M Varga✳︎, Dave T. Gerrard, Stephan Preibisch, David L. Corcoran, Julia Jarrells, Uwe Ohler, Casey M. Bergman, Pavel Tomancak
Gene expression divergence recapitulates the developmental hourglass model.
Nature, 468(7325) 811-814 (2010)
The observation that animal morphology tends to be conserved during the embryonic phylotypic period (a period of maximal similarity between the species within each animal phylum) led to the proposition that embryogenesis diverges more extensively early and late than in the middle, known as the hourglass model. This pattern of conservation is thought to reflect a major constraint on the evolution of animal body plans. Despite a wealth of morphological data confirming that there is often remarkable divergence in the early and late embryos of species from the same phylum, it is not yet known to what extent gene expression evolution, which has a central role in the elaboration of different animal forms, underpins the morphological hourglass pattern. Here we address this question using species-specific microarrays designed from six sequenced Drosophila species separated by up to 40 million years. We quantify divergence at different times during embryogenesis, and show that expression is maximally conserved during the arthropod phylotypic period. By fitting different evolutionary models to each gene, we show that at each time point more than 80% of genes fit best to models incorporating stabilizing selection, and that for genes whose evolutionarily optimal expression level is the same across all species, selective constraint is maximized during the phylotypic period. The genes that conform most to the hourglass pattern are involved in key developmental processes. These results indicate that natural selection acts to conserve patterns of gene expression during mid-embryogenesis, and provide a genome-wide insight into the molecular basis of the hourglass pattern of developmental evolution.