Richard Lewontin is a geneticist, evolutionary biologist, mathematician, and commentator. He earned a B.S. in biology from Harvard College, a master’s degree in mathematical statistics, and a Ph.D. in zoology from Columbia University. Lewontin is best known for his work in theoretical and experimental population genetics.
In 1960, he worked with Ken-Ichi Kojima to become the first population geneticist to identify the equations for change of haplotype frequencies with interacting national selection at two loci. He has become a vocal advocate for his theories on evolutionary biology, which has earned him both acclaim and criticism. At times, he has appeared to be hampered by his political beliefs, perhaps unwilling to consider possibilities that did not comport with his worldview.
He has challenged the notion of inheritability of intelligence and other traits, feeling instead that the lifeform is an active participant in evolution and the environment, rather than a passive participant. He has also theorized that genetically modified crops were not created just to be better, but to also force farmers into having to buy new seeds every year, rather than to use the seeds created by their last crop.
In 2017, Lewontin was recognized by the Genetics Society of America, which awarded him their Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal.
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