Monday, October 02, 2006


Microbial Planet : Symbiogenesis and Lynn Margulis (NASA's Astrobiology Magazine)

An interview with NASA's Astrobiology Magazine, Part 1:

Twenty years have passed since the publication of Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution (Amazon UK | US), co-authored by Lynn Margulis (homepage) and her son Dorion Sagan. To mark this anniversary, Astrobiology Magazine interviewed Margulis, distinguished university professor of geosciences at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Margulis is a controversial figure in the world of biological science. Many of the ideas she and Sagan put forth in Microcosmos, which met stiff resistance at the time, are now widely accepted. In this, the first part of a four-part interview, Margulis talks about how scientific understanding of early life on Earth has changed, and explains one of the central ideas of her life's work: symbiogenesis.

Links to the other 3 parts of "Microbial Planet : Symbiogenesis and Lynn Margulis" will be posted here as they appear:

Part 2 of the interview via: "We Are All Microbes: Symbiogenesis and Lynn Margulis"
Part 3 of the interview via "Bacteria Don't Have Species: Symbiogenesis and Lynn Margulis"
Part 4 of the interview via: "Bacterial Intelligence: Symbiogenesis and Lynn Margulis"

From Lynn Margulis' homepage:

She argues that inherited variation, significant in evolution, does not come mainly from random mutations. Rather new tissues, organs, and even new species evolve primarily through the long-lasting intimacy of strangers. The fusion of genomes in symbioses followed by natural selection, she suggests, leads to increasingly complex levels of individuality. Dr. Margulis is also acknowledged for her contribution to James E. Lovelock's Gaia concept. Gaia theory posits that the Earth's surface interactions among living beings sediment, air, and water have created a vast self-regulating system.

James Lovelock has recently written "The Revenge of Gaia: Earth's Climate Crisis and the Fate of Humanity" (Currently appearing on the 'Featured Books' page of the Evolution Book Store: UK | US - or go directly to the Amazon book webpage: UK | US - see "The End of Eden: Gaia and James Lovelock"

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