Lin Chao

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Lin Chao is a Chinese Brazilian American evolutionary biologist and geneticist. Chao gained his PhD in 1977 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as a student of Bruce R. Levin (now at Emory University), and was a NIH postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University in the laboratory of Edward C. Cox. He spent most of his career in the Department of Biology of the University of Maryland, College Park and is currently at the Ecology, Behavior and Evolution Section of the University of California, San Diego.

Chao is best known for his early work on the evolution of bacteriocins,[1] his demonstration of Muller’s ratchet in the RNA Virus Phi-6 [2] and his work on sex in viruses.[3] More recently, he was instrumental in the demonstration of the evolution of parasitic genetic elements in co-infecting bacteriophages[4][5] and experimental tests of Fisher's geometric model.[6] He argued that "life is evolution by natural selection".[7] The approach generally used in his laboratory is called microbial experimental evolution.

Chao is married to Camilla Rang, a fellow scientist, T-shirt designer and Swedish children's book author.

  • UCSD Chancellor's Associates Faculty Excellence Award (2014)[8]


  1. ^ Chao, L.; Levin, B. R. (1 October 1981). "Structured habitats and the evolution of anticompetitor toxins in bacteria". PNAS. 78 (10): 6324–6328. Bibcode:1981PNAS...78.6324C. doi:10.1073/pnas.78.10.6324. PMC 349031. PMID 7031647.
  2. ^ Chao, Lin (29 November 1990). "Fitness of RNA virus decreased by Muller's ratchet". Nature. 348 (6300): 454–455. Bibcode:1990Natur.348..454C. doi:10.1038/348454a0. PMID 2247152. S2CID 4235839.
  3. ^ Chao, Lin; Tran, Thu T.; Tran, Thutrang T. (1 November 1997). "The Advantage of Sex in the RNA Virus φ6". Genetics. 147 (3): 953–959. doi:10.1093/genetics/147.3.953. PMC 1208270. PMID 9383044.
  4. ^ Turner, Paul E.; Chao, Lin (1 April 1999). "Prisoner's dilemma in an RNA virus". Nature. 398 (6726): 441–443. Bibcode:1999Natur.398..441T. doi:10.1038/18913. PMID 10201376. S2CID 4422956.
  5. ^ Chao, L; Hanley, K. A.; Burch, C. L.; Dahlberg, C; Turner, P. E. (2000). "Kin selection and parasite evolution: Higher and lower virulence with hard and soft selection". The Quarterly Review of Biology. 75 (3): 261–75. doi:10.1086/393499. JSTOR 2665189. PMID 11008699. S2CID 24404768.
  6. ^ Burch, Christina L.; Chao, Lin (1 March 1999). "Evolution by Small Steps and Rugged Landscapes in the RNA Virus ϕ6". Genetics. 151 (3): 921–927. doi:10.1093/genetics/151.3.921. PMC 1460516. PMID 10049911.
  7. ^ Chao, LIN (2000). "The Meaning of Life". BioScience. 50 (3): 245–250. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2000)050[0245:tmol];2. JSTOR [;2 10.1641/0006-3568(2000)050[0245:tmol];2].
  8. ^ "40th Faculty Excellence Awards Honors Outstanding Teaching, Research and Service".

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