Johann Peter Gogarten is a German-American biologist studying the early evolution of life. Born in Bad Oeynhausen, Germany, he studied plant physiology and membrane transport with Friedrich-Wilhelm Bentrup in Tübingen and Giessen. In 1987 he moved to the US as a postdoc to work with Lincoln Taiz at UC Santa Cruz. He currently is Distinguished Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT.

Gogarten rooted the tree of life using an ancient gene duplication.[1] He was also one of the pioneers to recognize the importance and the extent of horizontal gene transfer and its role in microbial evolution.[2][3]

One of Gogarten’s current focuses in his research is the evolution of homing endonuclease utilizing parasitic genetic elements (inteins) [4] and the intertwining of selection occurring on the gene, population and the community level (multilevel selection, Unit of selection).

J. Peter Gogarten was selected as a recipient of a 2009 Fulbright scholarship, a member of the CT Academy of Science and Engineering, and fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and of the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life.


  1. ^ Gogarten, J.P., et al., Evolution of the vacuolar H+-ATPase: implications for the origin of eukaryotes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 1989. 86(17): p. 6661-5.
  2. ^ Hilario, E. and J.P. Gogarten, Horizontal transfer of ATPase genes--the tree of life becomes a net of life. BioSystems, 1993. 31(2-3): p. 111-9.
  3. ^ Gogarten, J.P., W.F. Doolittle, and J.G. Lawrence, Prokaryotic evolution in light of gene transfer. Mol Biol Evol, 2002. 19(12): p. 2226-38.
  4. ^ Swithers K.S., Gogarten J.P. Conservation of Intron and Intein Insertion Sites: Implications for Life Histories of Parasitic Genetic Elements. BMC Evolutionary Biology 2009, 9:303