Lynn Helena Caporale

Lynn Helena Caporale

Independent Scholar;

Lynn Caporale is a biochemist who has focused attention on evidence that natural selection can act on mechanisms that generate genome variation, much as it acts on mechanisms that create beaks and wings.  She has organized and chaired multiple international interdisciplinary conferences and workshops, is the author of Darwin in the Genome, and the Editor of several volumes including The Implicit Genome, Molecular Strategies in Biological Evolution, and The Effect of Genome Sequence and Structure on Genome Variation in Evolution.

Caporale received her B.S. with Honors in Chemistry from Brooklyn College of the City Univeristy of New York and her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1973. Her postdoctoral training included a Fellowship in Pathology (Immunology) at New York University Medical Center, and positions as an Associate Researcher in Myelopoeisis at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, and Research Associate and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Merrifield group at Rockefeller University.

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While she was an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, designing and synthesizing specific substrates and inhibitors of the enzymes in the serine protease family, she first suggested that the degeneracy of the Genetic Code would enable additional information to be represented within a protein coding sequence, and speculated that among additional messages would be information that focuses exploration on areas encoding substrate specificity while conserving the gene family framework, as described in “Is there a higher-level genetic code?” (1984). [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6493222]

Following research, teaching and mentoring medical, dental and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at Georgetown University Medical Center, she spent over a decade in the research laboratories of Merck & Co. Inc, where she rose to Senior Director with responsibility for identifying promising breakthrough approaches to treatment of a broad range of unmet human health needs.  She then helped to start several biotechnology companies, serving in senior management roles, on SABs and BODs.

She has organized and chaired several interdisciplinary international conferences, including “Molecular Strategies in Biological Evolution” (with co-chair Werner Arber, 1998), and the Effect of DNA Sequence and Structure on Genome Evolution (2011), has written and edited books intended both for a general audience and scientists, and has discussed her work on NPR and CNN.

Lynn Caporale’s current work is focused on exploring the role of Natural Selection in capturing regularities in the world and the representation of this information in evolving genomes (thus aligning the probability of certain classes of mutation with the probability that they would be adaptive) including the role of genome architecture in increasing the probability of genetic variations that facilitate adaptation to recurrent classes of changes in the environment.

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"…”fully understanding the information content of genomes will involve expanding our imagination with respect to both what types of information may be there and how information might be represented.” (Overview of The Implicit Genome Oxford University Press 2006)............................................................................................. “… much like other phenotypic variations that affect the survival of the descendants, intrinsic variations in the probability, type, and location of genetic change can feel the pressure of natural selection.” (Natural Selection and the emergence of a mutation phenotype: An Update of the Evolutionary Synthesis Considering Mechanisms that Affect Genome Variation Annu. Rev Microbiol 2003 57: 467–85) "

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