February 04, 2008

Geneticist's lecture will mark Darwin's birthday

by Eric Welch

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Sean B. Carroll, a nationally renowned geneticist and author, will present a lecture next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Charles Darwin's 149th birthday.

His lecture, titled "The Making of the Fittest," is set for Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Center Auditorium. A reception and book signing will immediately follow in the Student Center Old Main Lounge. Both events are free and open to the public.

Carroll is a professor of molecular biology and genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He studies how specific genes determine animal body forms and have influenced evolution. When most evolutionary biologists were focusing on fossil records, Carroll was one of the first to turn his attention to genetics in the search for answers of origin.

Carroll's latest book, "The Making of the Fittest," details the answers uncovered in Carroll's laboratory at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The book won the Phi Beta Kappa 2007 Science Book Award and was one of USA Today's Top Science Books of the Year in 2006.

The lecture is part of the University Honors Program Distinguished Lecture Series. The Darwin Day Foundation and the Department of Zoology also are sponsoring the lecture.