Recommended Readings: Richard Leakey, Ph. D.; September 25, 2009

Friday Lecture Series

Fairfield Osborn Memorial Lecture

Richard E. Leakey, Professor

Stony Brook University; chairman, Wildlife Direct

September 25, 2009

3:45 p.m.-5:00 p.m. (Refreshments, 3:15 p.m., Abby Lounge)

Caspary Auditorium

Recommended Articles:

Brown, B., A. Walker, C. V. Ward, and R. E. Leakey. 1993. New australopithecus boisei calvaria from east Lake Turkana, Kenya. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 91, (2): 137-159.

Brown, F., J. Harris, R. Leakey, and A. Walker. 1985. Early homo erectus skeleton from west Lake Turkana, Kenya. Nature 316, (6031): 788-792.

Harris, J. M., F. H. Brown, M. G. Leakey, A. C. Walker, and R. E. Leakey. 1988. Pliocene and pleistocene hominid-bearing sites from west of Lake Turkana, Kenya. Science 239, (4835): 27-33.

Leakey, R. E., and M. G. Leakey. 1986. A new miocene hominoid from Kenya. Nature 324, (6093): 143-146.

Walker, A., M. R. Zimmerman, and R. E. F. Leakey. 1982. A possible case of hypervitaminosis A in homo erectus. Nature 296, (5854): 248-250.

Recommended Books:

Leakey, Richard.   Wildlife wars: my battle to save Kenya’s elephants.   Pan Books.  2002

Leakey, Richard and Roger Lewin.  Origins: the emergence and evolution of our species and its possible future.  Penguin Books.  1991

Walker, Alan and Richard Leakey (eds).  The Nariokotome Homo erectus skeleton.  Springer. 1993

Leakey, Richard and Roger Lewin. The sixth extinction: patters of life and the future of humankind.  Anchor. 1996.

Leakey, Richard.  The origin of humankind.  Orion Publishing Group. 1994.

Leakey, Richard.  Origins reconsidered: in search of what makes us human.  Anchor.  1993.

Darwin’s Mystery Of Appearance Of Flowering Plants Explained

The rapid increase in the fantastic diversity of flowering plants – linked to their rapid conquest of the Earth during the Cretaceous period – was one of the greatest puzzles faced by Charles Darwin.  In an article in Ecology Letters,  ecologists Frank Berendse and Marten Scheffer have postulated an entirely new explanation for what Charles Darwin considered to be one of the greatest mysteries with which he was confronted.  

Frank Berendse and Marten Scheffer. The angiosperm radiation revisited, an ecological explanation for Darwin’s ‘abominable mystery’. Ecology Letters, Published Online: 2 Jul 2009 DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01342.x

Recommended Readings: Andrew Grimson, Ph.D.

Monday Lecture Series

Animal microRNAs: their ancient origin and contemporary targets

Andrew Grimson, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Monday, March 2, 2009

4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. (Refreshments, 3:45 p.m.)

Second Floor, Welch Hall

Recommended Articles:

Glazov, E. A., S. McWilliam, W. C. Barris, and B. P. Dalrymple. 2008. Origin, evolution, and biological role of miRNA cluster in DLK-DIO3 genomic region in placental mammals. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 25(5):939-948.

Farh, K. K. -H, A. Grimson, C. Jan, B. P. Lewis, W. K. Johnston, L. P. Lim, C. B. Burge, and D. P. Bartel. 2005. Biochemistry: The widespread impact of mammalian microRNAs on mRNA repression and evolution. Science. 310(5755):1817-1821.

Grimson, A., K. K. -H Farh, W. K. Johnston, P. Garrett-Engele, L. P. Lim, and D. P. Bartel. 2007. MicroRNA targeting specificity in mammals: Determinants beyond seed pairing. Molecular Cell. 27(1):91-105.

Grimson, A., M. Srivastava, B. Fahey, B. J. Woodcroft, H. R. Chiang, N. King, B. M. Degnan, D. S. Rokhsar, and D. P. Bartel. 2008. Early origins and evolution of microRNAs and piwi-interacting RNAs in animals. Nature. 455(7217):1193-1197.

Piriyapongsa, J., L. Mariño-Ramírez, and I. K. Jordan. 2007. Origin and evolution of human microRNAs from transposable elements. Genetics. 176(2):1323-1337.

On the Catalytic Proficiency of Enzymes….


Richard Wolfenden, Ph.D., Alumni Distinguished Professor Biochemistry and Biophysics and Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with co-author Charles A. Lewis, Ph.D., a postdoctoral scientist in his lab, have recently published new work on the evolutionary process of creating the building blocks of RNA and DNA.  Read the full report in PNAS.

Evolution’s New Wrinkle: Proteins With ‘Cruise Control’ Act Like Adaptive Machines

ScienceDaily (Nov. 12, 2008) — A team of Princeton University scientists has discovered that chains of proteins found in most living organisms act like adaptive machines, possessing the ability to control their own evolution.  The research, which appears to offer evidence of a hidden mechanism guiding the way biological organisms respond to the forces of natural selection, provides a new perspective on evolution.  The research was published in a recent edition of Physical Review Letters.