Origin And Evolution Of Genes Topic Of Lecture At Institute For Advanced Study

Origin And Evolution Of Genes Topic Of Lecture At Institute For Advanced Study

Walter Gilbert, Carl M. Loeb University Professor in Harvard University's Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, will speak on "Origin and Evolution of Genes" at 4:30 p.m. on April 18 in Wolfensohn Hall on the campus of the Institute for Advanced Study. The event is part of the Institute's Public Lecture Series in Biology. A reception in the Common Room of Fuld Hall will follow the lecture.

"Recent advances in genomic biology enable us to survey very large numbers of genes in different organisms," says Gilbert. "We try to identify the structure of the ancient genes in the very first organisms, and argue that these genes may have had an intron/exon structure, remnants of which extend to the present day."

Gilbert received the1980 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (with P. Berg and F. Sanger) for developing DNA sequencing technology. He has held professorships at Harvard University in the departments of Physics, Biophysics, Biochemistry, Biology, and, since 1985, Molecular and Cellular Biology. In addition to his Harvard appointment, he chairs the boards of NatGenics, Inc., and Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and is vice-chair of the board of directors of Myriad Genetics, Inc.

Gilbert received his B.A. in chemistry and physics from Harvard University in 1953, his M.A. in physics from Harvard in 1954, and his Ph.D. in mathematics from Cambridge University in 1957.

Author or co-author of almost 200 research publications, most in molecular biology, his current research interests include molecular evolution and intron/exon gene structure.

The Institute for Advanced Study has one further biology lecture scheduled this spring, also sponsored by its Program in Theoretical Biology: on May 2, Sir Robert May of Oxford University will speak on "Unanswered Questions in Ecology."