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IRVINE : People / Spotlight on achievers : Gene Theories Win Him Seat in Academy

Richard Hudson, a pioneer in theories used to trace human evolution, has been elected to the 215-year-old American Academy of Arts and Sciences for his work in theories used to trace human evolution.

Hudson, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Irvine, was also recognized for the creation of mathematical models in connection with his theories.

His “coalescent process theory” was used by researchers at Yale University, Harvard University and the University of Chicago who made headlines in May after the journal Science published their findings that humans descended from a common ancestor who lived about 270,000 years ago. Others have theorized man has origins dating back 1 million years.

Francisco Ayala, past president of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science and a UCI professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, said Hudson is one of the most influential scientists in his field.

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American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellows include 156 Nobel laureates and 61 Pulitzer Prize winners.

Hudson’s research was based on the premise that scientists can map human evolution by analyzing variations in genes. The findings published in Science, based on Hudson’s mathematical models, show no differences in a portion of a male sex chromosome taken from 38 men from around the world. Those findings suggest humans have a relatively recent common ancestor, according to researchers.

Hudson was elected a fellow of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science in 1994.

COMPILED BY SHELBY GRAD AND RUSS LOAR

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