Sean B. Carroll
|Sean B. Carroll|
17 September 1960 |
|Fields||Evolutionary developmental biology|
|Institutions||University of Wisconsin–Madison, University of Colorado at Boulder|
|Alma mater||Washington University in St. Louis (B.S.), Tufts University (Ph.D.)|
|Doctoral advisor||B. David Stollar|
|Other academic advisors||Matthew P. Scott|
|Notable awards||Presidential Young Investigator Award
Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science
Sean B. Carroll (born September 17, 1960) is a professor of molecular biology, genetics, and medical genetics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He studies the evolution of cis-regulatory elements in the regulation of gene expression in the context of biological development, using Drosophila as a model system. He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Since 2010, he has been vice-president for science education of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Carroll is at the forefront of a field known as evolutionary developmental biology ("evo-devo"). He is a professor of genetics, medical genetics, and molecular biology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Additionally, he writes a monthly column for the New York Times called "Remarkable Creatures". He is a strong advocate of the primacy of cis-regulatory evolution in the context of morphological evolution. In 2010, he was named vice-president for science education of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 2012, he was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science from the Franklin Institute. In 2016, he was awarded the Thomas Lewis Prize at the Rockefeller University.
The science writer Peter Forbes, writing in The Guardian, calls Endless Forms Most Beautiful an "essential book" and its author "both a distinguished scientist ... and one of our great science writers." In Forbes's view, in The Serengeti Rules Carroll "manages to unite natural history with the hard science of genomics."
Louise S. Mead, reviewing The Making of the Fittest for the National Center for Science Education, notes that Carroll provides "some of the overwhelming evidence for evolution provided in DNA", using different lines of enquiry such as DNA sequences that code for genes no longer in use, and evidence of evolutionary change. Mead notes that evolutionary theory has predictive power, as with icefish whose ancestors had haemoglobin whereas (not needing it in icy water) they have lost it.
Douglas H. Erwin, reviewing Endless Forms Most Beautiful for Artificial Life, notes that life forms from Drosophila to man have far fewer genes than many biologists expected – in man's case, only some 20,000. "How could humans, in all our diversity of cell types and complexity of neurons, require essentially the same number of genes as a fly, or worse, a worm (the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans)?" asks Erwin. He answers his own question about the "astonishing morphological diversity" of animals coming from "such a limited number of genes", praising Carroll's "insightful and enthusiastic" style, writing in a "witty and engaging" way, pulling the reader into the complexities of Hox and PAX-6, as well as celebrating the Cambrian explosion of life forms and much else.
- From DNA to Diversity: Molecular Genetics and the Evolution of Animal Design, with Jennifer Grenier and Scott Weatherbee (2004, Wiley-Blackwell; ISBN 1-4051-1950-0)
- Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom (2005, W. W. Norton & Company; ISBN 0-393-06016-0)
- The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution (2006, W. W. Norton & Company; ISBN 0-393-06163-9)
- Into the Jungle: Great Adventures in the Search for Evolution (2008, Benjamin Cummings; ISBN 0-321-55671-2)
- Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origin of Species (2009, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; ISBN 0-15-101485-X)
- Brave Genius: A Scientist, a Philosopher, and Their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize (2013, Crown; ISBN 0-307-95233-9)
- The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters (2016, Princeton University Press, ISBN 9780691167428)
- Who's Who in America, 2008 Edition, Vol. 1 p. 728
- "Sean B. Carroll, HHMI Vice President for Science Education". Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
- "Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science". Franklin Institute. 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Presentation of the 2016 Lewis Thomas Prize to Sean B. Carroll". The Rockefeller University. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
- Forbes, Peter (23 March 2016). "The Serengeti Rules by Sean B Carroll review – a visionary book about how life works". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
- Mead, Louise S. (2008). "Review: The Making of the Fittest". Reports of the National Center for Science Education. 28 (1): 37–39.
- Erwin, Douglas J. (2007). "Book Review: Endless Forms Most Beautiful". Artificial Life. 13 (1): 87–89.
- Cohn, Martin J. (2001). "Review of From DNA to Diversity" (PDF). Evolution & Development. 3 (5): 364–365. doi:10.1046/j.1525-142x.2001.01037.x.
- Official website
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute biography for Sean B. Carroll
- An excerpt from Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo
- Scientific American article "Regulating Evolution: How Gene Switches Make Life"
- The New York Times article "From a Few Genes, Life’s Myriad Shapes"
- NPR:Talk of the Nation, October 20, 2006 podcast "Author Uses DNA Record to Argue Evolution"
- Video of Sean B. Carroll's lecture: "Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species" at the Quantum to Cosmos Festival.