Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lynn Margulis, RIP

In my first year at university, my cell biology text book stopped me right in my tracks. It was my first encounter with endosymbiosis.

Endosymbiosis: Lynn Margulis
See UCMP's Understanding Evolution

More than twenty years later, advances in several fields have seen the protists finally break out of their artificial confinement and endosymbiosis is now firmly at the cornerstone of the relationships between major eukaryotic groups. A work in progress (which heightens attention), it's providing a fascinating insight into the evolutionary process.

That endosymbiosis was in my textbook in the first place, was due to the efforts of Lynn Margulis. While we associate her with the "Five Kingdoms", it was endosymbiosis which stunned me, a most enjoyable and lasting phenomenon.

Last night I heard (via the Twitterverse reporting her son's facebook post) that Lynn Margulis had passed on peacefully - and by this morning, UMass Amherst had issued a news release: "Lynn Margulis, Renowned Evolutionary Biologist and Author at UMass Amherst, Dead at 73."

Quite beautifully, grad student Leila Battison pens this heartfelt note on "Life in pen and ink" - "Lynn Margulis: An Unforgettable Woman.

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