Papers

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  • Mariscal, C. & Petropanagos, A. 2016. “CRISPR as a Driving Force: The Model T of Biotechnology.” Monash Review of Bioethics.
  • Booth, A., Mariscal, C. and Doolittle, W.F., 2016. “The Modern Synthesis in the Light of Microbial Genomics.” Annual Review of Microbiology, 70(1).
  • Scharf C, Virgo N, Cleaves J, Aono M, Aubert N, Aydinoglu A, Barahona A, Barge L, Benner S, Brasser P, Chandru K, Butch C, Cronin L, Danielache S, Hernlund J, Hut P, Ikegami T, Kimura J, Kobayashi K, Mariscal C, McGlynn S, Menard B, Packard N, Pascal R, Pereto J, Rajamani S, Smith E, Switzer C, Takai K, Tian F, Ueno Y, Voytek M, Witkowski O, Yabuta H. 2015. A Strategy For Origins Of Life Research. Astrobiology Dec 1;15(12):1031-42.
  • Powell R, Mariscal C. 2015. “Convergent Evolution as Natural Experiment: The Tape of Life ReconsideredR. Soc. Interface
    Abstract: Stephen Jay Gould argued that replaying the ‘tape of life’ would result in radically different evolutionary outcomes. Recently, biologists and philosophers of science have paid increasing attention to the theoretical importance of convergent evolution—the independent origination of similar biological forms and functions—which many interpret as evidence against Gould’s thesis. In this paper, we examine the evidentiary relevance of convergent evolution for the radical contingency debate. We show that under the right conditions, episodes of convergent evolution can constitute natural experiments that support inferences regarding the counterfactual stability of macroevolutionary outcomes. However, we argue that proponents of convergence have problematically lumped causally heterogeneous phenomena into a single evidentiary basket, in effect treating all convergent events as if they are of equivalent theoretical import. As a result, the ‘critique from convergent evolution’ fails to engage with key claims of the radical contingency thesis. To remedy this, we develop ways to break down the heterogeneous set of convergent events along several dimensions based on the nature of the generalizations they support. Adopting this more nuanced approach to convergent evolution allows us to differentiate iterated evolutionary outcomes that are probably common among alternative evolutionary histories and subject to law-like generalizations, from those that do little to undermine, and may even support, the Gouldian view of life.
  • Mariscal, C. 2015 “Universal Biology: Assessing Universality from a Single Example” In: Dick, S.J. (ed.), The Impact of Discovering Life Beyond Earth, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Mariscal C, Doolittle WF. 2015 Eukaryotes first: how could that be? Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 370: 20140322. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2014.0322
    Abstract: In the half century since the formulation of the prokaryote : eukaryote dichotomy, many authors have proposed that the former evolved from something resembling the latter, in defiance of common (and possibly common sense) views. In such ‘eukaryotes first’ (EF) scenarios, the last universal common ancestor is imagined to have possessed significantly many of the complex characteristics of contemporary eukaryotes, as relics of an earlier ‘progenotic’ period or RNAworld. Bacteria and Archaea thus must have lost these complex features secondarily, through ‘streamlining’. If the canonical three-domain tree in which Archaea and Eukarya are sisters is accepted, EF entails that Bacteria and Archaea are convergently prokaryotic.We ask what this means and how it might be tested.

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