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Carroll, Sean B. 1961(?)–

Carroll, Sean B. 1961(?)–

PERSONAL: Born c. 1961. Education: Tufts University School of Medicine, Ph.D., 1983; postdoctoral research at University of Colorado, Boulder.

ADDRESSES: Office—Laboratory of Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 425-G Henry Mall, Madison, WI 53706.

CAREER: University of Wisconsin—Madison, professor of molecular biology, genetics, and medical genetics; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, MD, investigator.

WRITINGS:

(With Jennifer K. Grenier and Scott D. Weatherbee) From DNA to Diversity: Molecular Genetics and the Evolution of Animal Design, Blackwell Science (Malden, MA), 2001, 2nd edition, 2005.

Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom, Norton (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to scientific journals.

SIDELIGHTS: Sean B. Carroll is a leader in the use of DNA evidence to deepen the understanding of evolution, which has traditionally relied on fossil and other morphological evidence. This new science of evolutionary developmental biology, dubbed "Evo Devo," is "concerned with the making and evolution of form," as Carroll explained to Andrew Albanese in an interview for the Library Journal. "There is an intimate connection between development, the process of making a complex creature beginning with a simple egg, and evolution. All changes in form are due to changes in development."

In Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom, "Carroll combines clear writing with the deep knowledge gained from a lifetime of genetics research,"as a Publishers Weekly reviewer put it, to give the general reader a basic understanding of this science and its goals. Among the revelations are the discovery of "Hox genes" that determine the shape of an animal from head to toe and apparently occur in every vertebrate. Carroll describes the complicated method of switches that allow certain genes to develop everything from legs and arms to wings and flippers. "Admittedly, taking in all the details of these discoveries in the early chapters can be heavy going," noted a Kirkus Reviews contributor, "but if the reader persists, there are delights to come." These include explanations of the eyespots on butterfly wings, the unique stripe patterns of zebras, and why some people grow red hair. Carroll continues to push the frontiers of Evo Devo, exploring such large questions as the constant recurrence of certain forms in widely varied species and the truly mysterious origins of new behaviors within the animal kingdom, such as the beginning of bird songs and the creation of long-term parental care of the young.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Capital Times (Madison, WI), April 21, 2005, P.J. Slinger, "UW Prof Tells How Genes Work."

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2005, review of Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom, p. 159.

Library Journal, March 1, 2005, Walter L. Cressler, review of Endless Forms Most Beautiful, p. 105, and Andrew Albanese, "Q&A: Sean B. Carroll," p. 107.

Publishers Weekly, February 28, 2005, review of Endless Forms Most Beautiful, p. 55.

Science, June 22, 2001, Gregory A. Wray, review of From DNA to Diversity: Molecular Genetics and the Evolution of Animal Design, p. 2256.

Science News, July 9, 2005, review of Endless Forms Most Beautiful, p. 31.

Scientist, May 19, 2003, "Sean B. Carroll" (interview), p. 11.

ONLINE

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Web site, http://www.hhmi.org/ (September 12, 2005), profile of Sean B. Carroll.

University of Wisconsin—Madison, Department of Genetics Web site, http://www.genetics.wisc.edu/ (September 12, 2005), profile of Sean B. Carroll.

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