(NAS Colloquium) Variation and Evolution in Plants and Microorganisms: Towards a New Synthesis: 50 Years after Stebbins
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(NAS Colloquium) Variation and Evolution in Plants and Microorganisms:
Towards a New Synthesis: 50 Years after Stebbins



In 1991, the National Academy of Sciences inaugurated a series of scientific colloquia, five or six of which are scheduled each year under the guidance of the NAS Council's Committee on Scientific Programs. Each colloquium addresses a scientific topic of broad and topical interest, cutting across two or more of the traditional disciplines. Typically two days long, colloquia are international in scope and bring together leading scientists in the field. Papers from colloquia are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The colloquium "Variation and Evolution in Plants and Microorganisms: Toward a New Synthesis 50 Years After Stebbins" celebrates the 50th anniversary of the publication of Stebbins' classic book, Variation and Evolution in Plants.

Variation and Evolution in Plants, published in 1950, the last of a quartet of classics that, in the second quarter of the 20th century, set forth what became known as the "synthetic theory of evolution" or "the modern synthesis." The other books are Theodosius Dobzhansky's Genetics and the Origin of Species (2), Ernst Mayr's Systematics and the Origin of Species (3), and George Gaylord Simpson's Tempo and Mode in Evolution (4). The pervading theory of these books is the molding of Darwin's evolution by natural selection within the framework of rapidly advancing genetic knowledge. Variation and Evolution in Plants distinctively extends the scope of the other books to the world of plants. Dobzhansky's perspective was that of the geneticist. Mayr's was that of the zoologist and systematist. Simpson's was that of the paleobiologist. All four books were outcomes of the famed Jesup Lectures at Columbia University. Plants, with their unique genetic, physiological, and evolutionary features, had been left out of the synthesis until then. In 1941, the eminent botanist Edgar Anderson was invited to write botany's analogue to Mayr's Systematics and the Origin of the Species and to publish it jointly with Mayr's book. Anderson did not fulfill the task, and Stebbins was thereafter invited to deliver the Jesup Lectures in 1947. Variation and Evolution in Plants is the outgrowth of those Lectures.


Publication Info

128 pages | 8 1/2 x 11

Table of Contents

skim chapter
Front Matter i-viii
Introduction: Variation and evolution in plants and microorganisms: Toward a new synthesis 50 years after Stebbins 6941-6944
G. Ledyard Stebbins (1906-2000): An appreciation 6945-6946
Solution to Darwin's dilemma: Discovery of the missing Precambrian record of life 6947-6953
The chimeric eukaryote: Origin of the nucleus from the karyomastigont in amitochondriate protists 6954-6959
Dynamic evolution of plant mitochondrial genomes: Mobile genes and introns and highly variable mutation rates 6960-6966
The evolution of RNA viruses: A population genetics view 6967-6973
Effects of passage history and sampling bias on phylogenetic reconstruction of human influenza A evolution 6974-6980
Bacteria are different: Observations, interpretations, speculations, and opinions about the mechanisms of adaptive evolution in prokaryotes 6981-6985
Evolution of RNA editing in trypanosome mitochondria 6986-6993
Population structure and recent evolution of Plasmodium flaciparum 6994-7001
Transponsons and genome evolution in plants 7002-7007
Maize as a model for the evolution of plant nuclear genomes 7008-7015
Flower color variation: A model for the experimental study of evolution 7016-7023
Gene genealogies and population variation in plants 7024-7029
Toward a new synthesis: Major evolutionary trends in the angiosperm fossil record 7030-7036
Reproductive systems and evolution in vascular plants 7037-7042
Hybridization as a stimulus for the evolution of invasiveness of plants? 7043-7050
The role of genetic and genomic attributes in the success of polyploids 7051-7060
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National Academy of Sciences. (NAS Colloquium) Variation and Evolution in Plants and Microorganisms: Towards a New Synthesis: 50 Years after Stebbins. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2000.

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