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Lynn Margulis

Lynn MargulisAKA Lynn Alexander Margulis

Born: 5-Mar-1935
Birthplace: Chicago, IL
Died: 22-Nov-2011
Location of death: Amherst, MA
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Female
Religion: Agnostic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Biologist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Origin of eukaryotic organelles

American biologist Lynn Margulis proposed a theory of symbiogenesis, through which inherited variation does not arise principally from random mutations, but is caused instead as new tissues, organs, and even new species evolve primarily through long-term interaction. She maintained that eukaryotes (cell-based organisms, characteristic of all life forms except primitive microorganisms such as bacteria) evolve when various kinds of prokaryotes (unicellular organisms having cells lacking membrane-bound nuclei) bind together to form symbiotic systems which tend to improve their chances for survival. This theory challenges some aspects of neo-Darwinism, so Margulis' work was considered controversial in scientific circles.

She also expressed skepticism that HIV is the causing agent of AIDS, and with James Lovelock she was a key contributor to Gaia theory, which suggests that all life forms on earth are so thoroughly interconnected that the Earth itself can be viewed as one large organic whole.

Father: Morris Alexander (attorney)
Mother: Leone Alexander (travel agent)
Husband: Carl Sagan (astronomer, m. 16-Jun-1957, div. circa 1963, two sons)
Son: Dorion Sagan (science writer, b. 1959)
Son: Jeremy Ethan Sagan (computer programmer, b. Oct-1960)
Husband: Thomas Margulis (x-ray crystallographer, m. 1967, div. 1980)
Son: Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma (attorney)
Daughter: Jennifer Margulis di Properzio (author)
Boyfriend: Ricardo Guerrero (biologist, together since 2000s)

    High School: Hyde Park Academy High School, Chicago, IL (1952)
    University: BA Liberal Arts, University of Chicago (1957)
    University: MS Zoology and Genetics, University of Wisconsin at Madison (1960)
    University: Ph.D Genetics, University of California at Berkeley (1965)
    Lecturer: Biology, Brandeis University (1964-66)
    Teacher: Biology, Boston University (1966-77)
    Professor: Biology, Boston University (1977-88)
    Professor: Botany, University of Massachusetts Amherst (1988-)

    National Medal of Science 1999
    William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement 1999
    LSL Darwin-Wallace Medal 2008
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    National Academy of Sciences 1983
    Russian Academy of Sciences Foreign Member
    Stroke Nov-2011

Official Website:

Author of books:
Origin of Eukaryotic Cells (1970)
Early Life: Evolution on the Precambrian earth (1982, with Michael F. Dolan)
Origins of Sex: 3 Billion Years of Genetic Recombination (1986, with Dorion Sagan)
Microcosmos (1987, with Dorion Sagan)
Mystery Dance: On the Evolution of Human Sexuality (1991, with Dorion Sagan)
Symbiosis as A Source of Evolutionary Innovation (1991)
Symbiosis in Cell Evolution (1992)
The Garden of Microbial Delight (1993, with Dorion Sagan)
Five Kingdoms (1997, with Karlene V. Schwartz)
Slanted Truths: Essays on Gaia, Symbiosis, and Evolution (1997, with Dorion Sagan)
What Is Sex? (1997, with Dorion Sagan)
Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution (1998)
Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of Species (2002, with Dorion Sagan)
Dazzle Gradually: Reflections on the Nature of Nature (2007, with Dorion Sagan)
Mind, Life and Universe (2007, with Eduardo Punset)
Luminous Fish: Tales of Science and Love (2007)

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