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We’ve talked about the very origin of life, but certain transitions along its subsequent history were incredibly important. Perhaps none more so than the transition from unicellular to multicellular organisms, which made possible an incredible diversity of organisms and structures. Will Ratcliff studies the physics that constrains multicellular structures, examines the minute changes in certain yeast cells that allows them to become multicellular, and does long-term evolution experiments in which multicellularity spontaneously evolves and grows. We can’t yet create life from non-life, but we can reproduce critical evolutionary steps in the lab.
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William Ratcliff received his Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. He is currently Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Georgia Tech. Among his awards are a Packard Fellowship and being named in Popular Science‘s “Brilliant 10” of 2016.
- Web site
- Google Scholar publications
- Packard Foundation bio
- “Experimental Evolution of Multicellularity,” Ratcliff et al. (2012)
- “De Novo Evolution of Macroscopic Multicellularity,” Bozdag et al. (2021)