James A. Shapiro

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James A. Shapiro is an American biologist, an expert in bacterial genetics as well as a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago.[1] He has become well known for his controversial views on the mechanisms of evolution.


He earned a doctorate in genetics from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 1968 and did postdoctoral research with Jon Beckwith at the Harvard Medical School. Since 1973, he has worked a professor of microbiology at the University of Chicago.

While he was working with Beckwith at Harvard, Shapiro was part of the first team to isolate a single gene from an organism.[2]


Shapiro is an advocate of non-Darwinian evolution and is a critic of the modern synthesis. He has published primary scientific literature on evolution since the early 90s however his views on evolution became well known to wider audiences due his popular book published in 2011 titled Evolution: A View from the 21st Century.

Natural genetic engineering (NGE) is a process described by Shapiro to account for novelty created in the process of biological evolution, there has been a large controversy over this process as intelligent design advocates have misunderstood the process and spammed the idea onto hundreds of websites and forums claiming it has refuted evolution. Despite the quote mining and misrepresentation of the ID advocates Shapiro does not reject evolution, is not an intelligent design advocate and has openly criticised and rejected intelligent design.


  • Evolution: A View from the 21st Century (FT Press Science, 2011 ISBN 0132780933)

See also[edit]