12 March 1958 |
Prague, Czechoslovakia (now Czech republic)
|Institutions||Charles University in Prague|
|Known for||research into toxoplasmosis|
|Notable awards||Ig Nobel Prize in Public Health (2014)|
Jaroslav Flegr is a professor of biology at Charles University in Prague. He is a parasitologist, evolutionary biologist, the author of the book Frozen Evolution and member of the editorial board of Neuroendocrinology Letters.
His work on the influence of toxoplasmosis infection on personality, sex ratios, and the risks of road accidents, has received substantial media attention, with the work on road accidents being particularly prominent. Flegr has claimed that the infection might increase the number of accidents by as much as one million crashes per year.
His book Frozen Evolution is a science popularization book that aims to achieve three distinct goals. First, it presents the reader with the principles of current evolutionary biology. Second, the book contains sidenotes in graphically distinct boxes that discuss topics important in practitioning of science. These are for example peer review process, scientific journals or citation metrics. Some ideas from philosophy of science like paradigm shift and Occam's razor are also mentioned, as is some Fleger's previous research to provide concrete examples. The third and final goal is materialized in concluding chapters that propose the author's idea of frozen plasticity, a new hypothesis that describes a mechanism for the origin of adaptive traits. He claims that natural selection can only explain the evolution of such adaptations under very special situations: e.g., in genetically homogeneous populations of sexual organisms or in asexual organisms. He describes the idea of "frozen plasticity" as being more general, and contends that it can better explain the origin and evolution of adaptive traits in genetically heterogeneous population of sexual organisms. Fleger's ideas expressed in this part of the book are extensions on the punctuated equilibria hypothesis.
English version of Fleger's book Frozen Evolution and his evolutionary biology college textbook Mechanisms of Evolution are freely available to read at frozenevolution.com Mechanisms of Evolution is available only as multipage HTML, Frozen Evolution can be downloaded in PDF format. Czech versions of those books are available only in print.
Fleger is married and has two children as well as two cats. Fleger is infected with the Toxoplasmosis parasite.
- Jaroslav Flegr (2008). Frozen Evolution: Or, that's not the way it is, Mr. Darwin - Farewell to selfish gene. Prague: Charles University, Faculty of Science. ISBN 80-86561-73-9.
- Jaroslav Flegr and Jan Havlicek. Folia Parasitologica , Changes in personality profile of young women with latent toxoplasmosis, vol. 46, 1999, pp. 22-28.
- Jaroslav Flegr University website
- Hall, B.K. (2009). "A review of Frozen Evolution: Or That's Not the Way It is, Mr. Darwin, edited by Jaroslav Flegr". Evolution & Development 11 (1): 126–129. doi:10.1111/j.1525-142X.2008.00310.x. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
- Board of Editors Neuroendocrinology Letters website
- Flegr J (May 2007). "Effects of Toxoplasma on Human Behavior". Schizophr Bull 33 (3): 757–60. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbl074. PMC 2526142. PMID 17218612.
- Kanková S, Sulc J, Nouzová K, Fajfrlík K, Frynta D, Flegr J (February 2007). "Women infected with parasite Toxoplasma have more sons". Naturwissenschaften 94 (2): 122–7. doi:10.1007/s00114-006-0166-2. PMID 17028886.
- Flegr J, Havlícek J, Kodym P, Malý M, Smahel Z (July 2002). "Increased risk of traffic accidents in subjects with latent toxoplasmosis: a retrospective case-control study". BMC Infect. Dis. 2: 11. doi:10.1186/1471-2334-2-11. PMC 117239. PMID 12095427.
- Flegr J, Klose J, Novotná M, Berenreitterová M, Havlícek J (2009). "Increased incidence of traffic accidents in Toxoplasma-infected military drivers and protective effect RhD molecule revealed by a large-scale prospective cohort study". BMC Infect. Dis. 9: 72. doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-72. PMC 2692860. PMID 19470165.
- Catherine Price. "Want a boy? Change the kitty litter". Salon.com. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- Adam, David (25 September 2003). "Can a parasite carried by cats change your personality?". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- "Cat bug link to 1m crashes". Edinburgh: Scotsman.com. 4 June 2009. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- "Czech scientists make unique finding on Rh factor effect". Prague Monitor. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- Caroline Davis. "Times Higher Education - Findings: 'Harmless' bug may be killer". Times Higher Education Supplement. Retrieved 24 June 2009.