Evolutionary biologists are the latest victims of the global economic downturn. In a move that has generated a worldwide outcry, Leiden University in the Netherlands is firing nine evolutionary biologists, half of its total evolution-related staff. Leiden officials say the layoffs are in response to a smaller annual science budget, following the Dutch government's reallocation of €100 million ($133 million) last year to fund the linkurl:Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.;http://www.nwo.nl/nwohome.nsf/pages/index
But an linkurl:online petition;http://evodevo.eu/petition/ -- which has already been signed by more than 2,700 people in the past three days -- questions why only evolutionary biologists were laid off while molecular biologists were spared the axe. "We are under pressure," linkurl:Frietson Galis,;http://wwwbio.leidenuniv.nl/ibl/organisation/OrganisationPeopleInfo.php?PeopleID=175 the president of the European Society for Evolutionary Developmental Biology and one of the Leiden staff given the pink slip, told __The Scientist__. The dismissals will eliminate Leiden's research in population biology and theoretical modeling because there will...

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