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Lynn Margulis
University of California-Berkeley, 2005-2006

Noted evolutionist Lynn Margulis at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, developed serial endosymbiosis theory, which proposes that undulipodia, mitochondria and chloroplasts originally evolved as bacteria. These integrated as endosymbionts in the evolution of nucleated cells. Cells with nuclei (protoctist, animal, plant and fungal) evolved from such ancient symbiotic associations that have been naturally selected for over a billion years. A recent book, Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of Species (with Dorion Sagan) shows how new species arise by symbiotic merger of genomes modified by random mutation. She also collaborates with James E. Lovelock on Gaia theory that posits Earth's surface life (metabolism, growth, reproduction and interaction with sediment, air, and water) has generated a vast regulating system. With K. V. Schwartz, and reviewed by numerous specialists, she provides a consistent formal classification of all life in Five Kingdoms: An illustrated guide to the phyla of life on Earth, 3rd edition. The logical basis of this evolutionary classification is summarized in her book Symbiosis in Cell Evolution: Microbial communities in the Archean and Proterozoic eons. With the bacterial origin of plastids and mitochondria is now established she and colleagues (Michael Dolan, Ricardo Guerrero, John Hall, and Dennis Searcy) currently investigate the origin of nuclei and cilia. Margulis received her liberal arts undergraduate education at the University of Chicago, a Master's degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (zoology-genetics) and Ph.D. (genetics) from the University of California, Berkeley. Her honors include membership in the National Academy of Sciences, Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Medal of Science, Alexander von Humboldt Prize, Sigma Xi's William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement, and the banking of her papers in the Library of Congress.

 

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