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Gerhart, John 1936–

Gerhart, John 1936–

(John C. Gerhart)

PERSONAL: Born 1936. Education: University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES: Office—Gerhart Lab, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, 142 Life Sciences Addition No. 3200, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3200. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: University of California, Berkeley, professor of molecular biology.

MEMBER: National Academy of Sciences.

AWARDS, HONORS: E.B. Wilson Award, American Society for Cell Biology, 1997.

WRITINGS:

(Editor) Cell-Cell Interactions in Early Development (Society for Developmental Biology Forty-ninth Symposium, 1990), Wiley-Liss (New York, NY), 1991.

(With Marc W. Kirschner) Cells, Embryos, and Evolution: Toward a Cellular and Developmental Understanding of Phenotypic Variation and Evolutionary Adaptability, illustrated by Eileen Starr Moderbacher, Blackwell Science (Malden, MA), 1997.

(With Marc W. Kirschner) The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2005.

Contributor to scientific journals.

SIDELIGHTS: John Gerhart is a molecular biologist whose books include Cells, Embryos, and Evolution: Toward a Cellular and Developmental Understanding of Phenotypic Variation and Evolutionary Adaptability, written with Marc W. Kirschner. The coauthors study the ways in which cells have affected evolution as they divide and change over their lifetimes, explaining that their intention is "to understand the molecular and genetic changes most important for the metazoan radiation, to identify how the cell and developmental biology of these organisms accommodated to change and were changed by them, and to appreciate how conserved cellular and developmental mechanisms might have played a role in major modifications of anatomy and physiology." Science writer Anthony P. Mahowald wrote that Gerhart and Kirschner "have been amazingly successful in this effort."

Gerhart and Kirschner also collaborated on writing The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma, in which they counter the arguments of the proponents of the "intelligent design" theory and submit their own evolutionary theory. They point to the flexibility in the development of cells that enables them to change, not randomly, but rather according to their environments and needs, a process they call "facilitated variation." Gerhart and Kirschner deal with what they see as objections to their theory and propose future studies in a volume that Booklist reviewer Bryce Christensen described as "remarkably lucid and comprehensive." Also reviewing the volume, Gregg Sapp commented in Library Journal that "their work is remarkably comprehensible to general readers."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Gerhart, John, and Marc W. Kirschner, Cells, Embryos, and Evolution: Toward a Cellular and Developmental Understanding of Phenotypic Variation and Evolutionary Adaptability, illustrated by Eileen Starr Moderbacher, Blackwell Science (Malden, MA), 1997.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 2005, Bryce Christensen, review of The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma, p. 16.

Evolution, February, 1998, Gregory A. Wray, review of Cells, Embryos, and Evolution, p. 291.

Library Journal, September 15, 2005, Gregg Sapp, review of The Plausibility of Life, p. 87.

Publishers Weekly, September 5, 2005, review of The Plausibility of Life, p. 52.

Science, August 8, 1997, Anthony P. Mahowald, review of Cells, Embryos, and Evolution, p. 772.

ONLINE

UC Berkeley Department of Molecular and Cell Biology Web site, http://mcb.berkeley.edu/ (January 3, 2006), faculty profile.

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