Francisco J. Ayala: Wikis


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Francisco J. Ayala
Born 12 March 1934 (1934-03-12) (age 75)[1]
Madrid, Spain
Fields Biology, Genetics
Institutions University of California, Irvine
Alma mater University of Salamanca, Columbia University
Known for Population genetics
Notable awards National Medal of Science

Francisco José Ayala (born 1934 in Madrid, Spain) is a Spanish American biologist and philosopher at the University of California, Irvine. He is a former Dominican priest[2][3] (ordained in 1960[4]). After graduating from the University of Salamanca, he moved to the US in 1961 to study for a PhD at Columbia University. There, he studied for his doctorate under Theodosius Dobzhansky, graduating in 1964.[5] He became a US citizen in 1971.

He has been President and Chairman of the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.[6] At University of California, Irvine, his academic appointments include University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (School of Biological Sciences), Professor of Philosophy, (School of Humanities), and Professor of Logic and the Philosophy of Science (School of Social Sciences).[7]


Research and work

He is known for his research on population and evolution genetics, and has been called the "Renaissance Man of Evolutionary Biology".[8] His "discoveries have opened up new approaches to the prevention and treatment of diseases that affect hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide", including demonstrating the reproduction of Trypanosoma cruzi, the agent of Chagas disease, is mostly the product of cloning, and that only a few clones account for most of this widespread, mostly untreatable South American disease that affects 16 million to 18 million people.[9]

He has been publicly critical of U.S. restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. He currently serves on the advisory board of the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, an organization that has lobbied Congress to lift federal restrictions on funding embryonic stem cell research.

He attended the Beyond Belief symposium on November 2006.

Awards and honors

In 2001, Ayala was awarded the National Medal of Science.[9] On April 13 2007, he was awarded the first of 100 bicentennial medals at Mount Saint Mary's University for lecturing there as the first presenter for the Bicentennial Distinguished Lecture Series. His lecture was entitled "The Biological Foundations of Morality". Other awards he has received include the Gold Honorary Gregor Mendel Medal of the Czech Academy of Sciences, the Gold Medal of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, the Gold Medal of the Stazione Zoologica in Naples, the President's Award of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award and 150th Anniversary Leadership Medal of the AAAS, the Medal of the College of France, the UCI Medal of the University of California, the 1998 Distinguished Scientist Award from the SACNAS, and Sigma Xi's William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement, 2000.

Ayala is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He is also a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome, the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences, the Mexican Academy of Sciences, and the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. He has honorary degrees from the University of Athens, the University of Bologna, the University of Barcelona, the University of the Balearic Islands, the University of León, the University of Madrid, the University of Salamanca, the University of Valencia, the University of Vigo, Far Eastern National University, Masaryk University and University of Warsaw.

Personal life

Francisco Ayala was born to Francisco and Soledad Ayala (nee Pereda ). In the late 1960s he met Mary Henderson, they married on May 27, 1968.[10] They had two sons: Francisco José (b. 1969) and Carlos Alberto (b. 1972).[11] In 1985 he married an ecologist- Dr. Hana Ayala (nee Lostakova).[12][13] They live in Irvine, California.


Ayala has published 950 publications and 30 books. Recently published books include:

  • Avise, J.C. and F.J. Ayala, eds. In the Light of Evolution: Adaptation and Complex Design. National Academy Press: Washington, DC. 2007. ISBN 9780309104050
  • Cela Conde, C.J. and F.J. Ayala. Human Evolution. Trails from the Past. Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2007.
  • Ayala, F.J. Darwin y el Diseño Inteligente. Creacionismo, Cristianismo y Evolución. Alianza Editorial: Madrid, Spain, 231 pp. 2007.
  • Ayala, F.J. Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion. Joseph Henry Press: Washington, DC, xi + 237 pp. 2007
  • Ayala, F.J. La Evolución de un Evolucionista. Escritos Seleccionados. University of Valencia: Valencia, Spain, 441 pp. 2006. ISBN 8437065267
  • Ayala, F.J. Darwin and Intelligent Design. Fortress Press: Minneapolis, MN, xi + 116 pp. 2006.
  • Ayala, F.J. and C.J. Cela Conde. La piedra que se volvió palabra. Las claves evolutivas de la humanidad. Alianza Editorial: Madrid, Spain. 184 pp. 2006 ISBN 8420647837
  • Hey, J., W.M. Fitch and F.J. Ayala, eds. Systematics and the Origin of Species. On Ernst Mayr’s 100th Anniversary. National Academies Press: Washington, DC. xiii + 367 pp. 2005 ISBN 0309095360
  • Wuketits, F.M. and F.J. Ayala, eds. Handbook of Evolution: The Evolution of Living Systems (Including Hominids), Volume 2. Wiley-VCH: Weinheim, Germany. 292 pp. 2005. ISBN 9783527619719
  • Ayala, F.J. Le Ragioni dell’ Evoluzione. Di Renzo Editore: Rome. 109 pp. 2005.


  1. ^ Hall, Brian Keith; Strickberger, Monroe W.; Hallgrímsson, Benedikt (2008). Strickberger's evolution: the integration of genes, organisms and populations. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett. pp. 633. ISBN 0-7637-0066-5.  
  2. ^
  3. ^ "A CONVERSATION WITH: FRANCISCO J. AYALA; Ex-Priest Takes the Blasphemy Out of Evolution". New York Times. April 27, 1999. Retrieved 2009-04-24.  
  4. ^ Richardson, W.; Slack, Gordy (2001). Faith in science: scientists search for truth. London: Routledge. pp. 6. ISBN 0-415-25765-4.  
  5. ^ Ayala, Francisco (1976;10:1-6.). "Theodosius Dobzhansky: The Man and the Scientist". Annual Review of Genetics. Retrieved 2009-04-24.  
  6. ^ "Roving Defender of Evolution, and of Room for God". New York Times. April 29, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-24.  
  7. ^ "Biologist Francisco J. Ayala". The Scientist. 5 February 1996. Retrieved 2009-04-24.  
  8. ^ "A Conversation with Hana and Francisco J. Ayala". American Association for the Advancement of Science. 23 March 2006. Retrieved 2009-04-24.  
  9. ^ a b "Biologist Francisco J. Ayala Wins National Medal of Science". University of California. 2002-05-09. Retrieved 2009-04-24.  
  10. ^ (World of Genetics on Francisco J. Ayala)
  11. ^ (Biologist Francisco J. Ayala Wins National Medal of Science)
  12. ^ (Hana and Francisco J. Ayala: Separate Careers, a Common Passion for Knowledge)
  13. ^ Elizabeth Sleeman, Taylor & Francis Group, Europa Publications, Europa Publications Limited (2003). The International Who's Who 2004:. Routledge. pp. 83. ISBN 1857432177.  

External links

Preceded by
Eloise E. Clark
President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Succeeded by
Rita R. Colwell


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