Lynn Margulis, brilliant biologist, dies at 73. Dr. Margulis was Professor at University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is best known for the endosymbiont theory , that eukaryotic cells (like ours, with nuclei), evolved from symbiotic relationships with bacteria. In fact, cellular organelles like mitochondria and chloroplasts quite clearly link to bacterial origins, including having their own genetic material.
• Her work directly challenged prevailing Darwinian views that evolution was purely the result of random mutations. Rather, Dr. Margulis argued that symbiosis was a more important mechanism: evolution is a function of organisms that are mutually beneficial growing together to become one and reproducing.
• Although these ideas are mainstream now, they were subject to much ridicule: her manuscript was rejected by 15 journals before being published in 1967! Richard Dawkins said of her, “I greatly admire Lynn Margulis’s sheer courage and stamina in sticking by the endosymbiosis theory, and carrying it through from being an unorthodoxy to an orthodoxy. I’m referring to the theory that the eukaryotic cell is a symbiotic union of primitive prokaryotic cells. This is one of the great achievements of twentieth-century evolutionary biology, and I greatly admire her for it.”
• Her work on the Gaia theory (with James Lovelock), that Earth is itself an organism, is more controversial.
• She was once married to Carl Sagan and they have a son, Dorian Sagan, who co-authored books with her.
Read more about her work: http://news.discovery.com/earth/lynn-margulis-pioneer-of-evolutionary-biology-dies-at-73-111124.html