Anne writes:

Dear Professors Racaniello and Elde,

Many thanks for the interview with David Quammen.  It was an enjoyable and fascinating way to spend my morning!

I am so excited by the arrival of David Quammen’s new book, “The Tangled Tree”.  Several years ago, I took the Coursera course, “The Emergence of Life”, offered by the University of Illinois (UIUC), where I was first introduced to the work of Carl Woese (as an aside, it was exciting to be able to interact with Nigel Goldenfeld in the course forums!).  Woese’s research struck me as fundamentally important work, and it set me on a path to read more about him and his papers. While the scientific world was aware of his work’s significance, I was somewhat disheartened that the world at large was not made aware of his important contributions until his death.  Yes, high school biology books adopted the three domains of life for students to study, but never referenced the work or the people behind it! So I am grateful that Quammen’s work sheds light on the important research and people involved.

There are so many articles now written about Woese; the March 2014 issue of RNA Biology was dedicated to him (link to table of contents of that issue:  <>).

Here is one of my favorite papers (and title) by Woese; the paper discusses how certain ideas can hold back advances in thinking, one of the things Prof. Elde discussed with Quammen in your podcast:

How the microbial world saved evolution from the Scylla of molecular biology and the Charybdis of the modern synthesis


Share the links as you see fit.  Thanks again for doing this work, and giving us the opportunity to grow in knowledge about so many things.



Anthony writes:

Link suggestions for TWiEVO 37

This Small Things Considered Post might be interesting to include at the show Page:

Celebrating Woese – Forty Years and Entirely New Views of the Microbial World

by Roberto and Elio

Perhaps listeners might find useful a list of books mentioned in the Podcast with Links to relevant Sites.  Here’s one to start:

The New Foundations of Evolution

On the Tree of Life

Jan Sapp


Mike in Oregon writes:

Hi gentlemen,

I am curious as to the Gaia hypothesis purported by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis. Do you think it has any valid points. Also I am always wondering why we as living creatures have two main drives for food and reproduction (as far as I am aware of, and I can’t honestly think of any others). I know I wouldn’t be here to ask this question if it wasn’t somehow part of our makeup.  Are we like spores on the surface of the earth feeding the mother.

Mike in Oregon