Lynn Margulis

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Lynn Margulis (born March 5, 1938) is an American biologist and University Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.[1] She is best known for her theory on the origin of eukaryotic organelles, and her contributions to the endosymbiotic theory, which is now generally accepted for how certain organelles were formed.



Endosymbiotic Theory

Lynn Margulis attended the University of Chicago as an undergraduate, earned a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1960, and received her Ph.D. in 1963 from UC Berkeley. In 1966, as a young faculty member at Boston University, she wrote a theoretical paper entitled The Origin of Mitosing Eukaryotic Cells.[2] The paper however was "rejected by about fifteen scientific journals," Margulis recalled.[3] It was finally accepted by The Journal of Theoretical Biology and is considered today a landmark in modern endosymbiotic theory. Although it draws heavily on symbiosis ideas first put forward by mid-19th century scientists and by Merezhkovsky (1905) and Wallin (1920) in the early-20th century, Margulis's endosymbiotic theory formulation is the first to rely on direct microbiological observations (as opposed to paleontological or zoological observations which were previously the norm for new works in evolutionary biology). The paper was initially heavily rejected, as symbiosis theories had been dismissed by mainstream biology at the time. Weathering constant criticism of her ideas for decades, Margulis is famous for her tenacity in pushing her theory forward, despite the opposition she faced at the time.

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