Popular Science Lecture Series - IX

Evolution And Datura - பரிணாம வளர்ச்சியும் ஊமத்தையும்

Venue: Anna Centenary Library

July 13, 2019

Co-organised by
Anna Centenary Library
& Tamilnadu Science Forum

About Program

This is part of its efforts to popularize science to the general public and students who are pursuing science as their career. TNSF attempt to focus on students on higher science as everyone knows that learning of science at college within the curriculum is not enough to acquire holistic knowledge of science at the appropriate time. Hence, to fill the gap between what students are acquiring through the curriculum and what it is required, TNSF is planning its activities on higher science to students who are pursuing higher education

Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology that studies the evolutionary processes that produced the diversity of life on Earth, starting from a single common ancestor. These processes include natural selection, common descent, and speciation. The idea of evolution by natural selection was proposed by Charles Darwin in 1859, but evolutionary biology, as an academic discipline in its own right, emerged during the period of the modern synthesis in the 1930s and 1940s.

Datura is a small genus of the family Solanaceae, which also contains plants such as potatoes, tomatoes and brinjal. Datura is a plant that is familiar in a range of contexts – medicinal, artistic, religious, folk, social – to those of us living in the Indian subcontinent (South Asia). These poisonous plants go by a large number of different names, including Umattam in Tamil; the Sanskrit “dhattura” was used to assign the Latin name to the genus. Five of the 12 species in this genus are known to occur in India and in other parts of Asia and Africa, while all 12 species are found in North America, mainly in Mexico. The presence of five species in Asia and America, separated by vast oceans, raises the question of how this distribution came about.

Why is this a question? Why do we need the ideas of Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace to help answer this question? What does it have to do with evolution? These questions will be addressed in the talk.

தாவரம் உள்ளிட்ட ஒவ்வொரு உயிரினமும் பரிணாம வளர்ச்சியில் உருவானவை. மரபணுக்களில் தற்செயலாக ஏற்படும் பிறழ்ச்சிகள் அடுத்தடுத்த தலைமுறைக்கு வரும்பொழுது இயற்கைத் தெரிவு விதிகளின் அடிப்படையில் அழியாமல் இருந்தால் பிறழ்ச்சியடைந்த அந்த மரபணு நீடிக்கிறது. இப்படி பிறழ்ச்சியடைந்த மரபணுக்களின் தொகுப்பே ஒரு உயிரினத்தின் தனிஅடையாளமாகிறது. இந்த விஷயங்களை ஆய்வு செய்பவையே பரிணாம உயிரியல் ஆகும்.

இசைக்கருவி நாதஸ்வரத்தின் வடிவத்தில் உள்ள ஊமத்தம் பூ என்ற இந்த மலரை அறியாத தமிழர்கள் இருக்க மாட்டார்கள். இது ஒரு நச்சுத்தன்மை கொண்ட தாவரமாகும். சிந்தனையை தடுமாற வைக்கும் குணமுள்ளதால் இதை உன்மத்தம்பூ என்ற காரணப் பெயர் கொண்டு அழைக்கப்பட்டது. இதுவே நாளடைவில் மறுவி ஊமத்தம்பூவானது. ஊமத்தை 1 மீட்டர் வரை உயரமாக வளரும் செடி வகையைச் சார்ந்த‌து. அகன்ற பசுமையான இலைகள், நீள்வட்ட வடிவில் காணப்படும். வாயகன்று, நீண்ட குழலுள்ள புனல் போன்ற அமைப்பில் வெள்ளை நிறமான மலர்கள் காணப்படும். ஊமத்தை தமிழகத்திலுள்ள எல்லா மாவட்டங்களிலும், சாலை ஓரங்கள், தரிசு நிலங்களில் மானாவாரித் தாவரமாக விளைகின்றது. SOLANACEAE என்ற தாவரக் குடும்பத்தைச் சேர்ந்தது இந்த தாவரம். இது இந்தியாவில் மட்டுமல்ல ஆசியாவின் இதர பகுதிகளிலும், அமெரிக்காவிலும் காணப்படுகிறது. ஒரே குடும்பத்தைச் சேர்ந்த தாவரம் வெவ்வேறு பூகோளப் பகுதியில் எவ்வாறு பரிணமித்திருக்க முடியும்? தற்செயலாக நிகழும் மரபணுப் பிறழ்ச்சிகள் தொடர்ச்சியாக ஒரே மாதிரியான பிறழ்ச்சிகள் வெவ்வேறு பூகோளப் பகுதியில் எவ்வாறு நிகழ முடியும்?

Program Schedule

Time: 04:00 pm to 6:30 pm - July 13th, 2019

Registration: 3:30 pm onwards

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Inauguration by Dr. S. Krishnaswamy,
Visiting Professor, Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai
Evolution - The Basis of Life
பரிணாம வளர்ச்சி - உயிரனங்களின் தோற்றத்தின் அடிப்படை

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Dr. R. Geeta, University of Delhi
Umattam (Datura) in Asia and America – What does it have to do with evolution?
ஆசியாவிலும் அமெரிக்காவிலும் ஊமத்தை - இவையிரண்டின் பரிணாம வளர்ச்சிகளுக்குள் என்ன தொடர்பு?

6:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Question & Answer


Dr. S.Krishnaswamy

Dr. S.Krishnaswamy

Dr. S.Krishnaswamy, did his B.Sc (Hons) (Physics) in IIT, Kharagpur, then MSc at Pachaiyappas College, Chennai and completed his research for PhD at Department of Bio-Physics and Crystallography Madras University in 1985. After that he did his postdoctoral research first at Purdue University, USA with Prof Rossmann on virus crystallography and then worked in Strasbourg University, France on Asp tRNA synthetase - Asp tRNA complex structure with Prof. Dino Moras. He joined the Bioinformatics Centre at Madurai Kamaraj University in 1990. He taught bioinformatics, biophysics, structural biology, structural genomics, programming in computational biology for post-graduate students. His research group and PhD students worked on membrane protein structural biology of membrane proteins, prophages proteins and proteins that aggregate and cause disease. He was instrumental in establishing a Macromolecular X-Ray Diffraction facility, initiated two teaching programmes and developed Bioinformatics at MKU. He took voluntary retirement as Senior Professor from MKU in 2015. After that he has been a visiting professor at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai with the computational biology group. He was State President of the Tamil Nadu Science Forum. "

Dr. R. Geeta

Dr. R. Geeta

Dr. R. Geeta, started her career as an undergraduate student of Biology in Miranda House, University of Delhi and completed her Masters in the same university. She opted to teach in the same university after her Masters for a couple of years. She has taken up a position as Scientist in Indian Council of Agricultural Research and served there for 10 years. After leaving the position as a scientist at ICAR, she pursued research at the University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZ, USA and completed her Doctoral degree in 1993. She started working for SUNY(The State University of New York) Stony Brook, NY, USA as Assistant Professor and continue to work for the same institution for 15 years. She came back to India and joined with University of Delhi as Professor in Department of Botany and retired in 2017. During her teaching profession, she was teaching Evolutionary Biology, Systematics, Population Biology, Phylogenetics, Writing, Introductory Statistics. Her research interests are in comparative, evolutionary and phylogenetic biology, and she has published on the evolution of traits (molecular, genomic, morphological) in diverse taxa, especially plants. She served as a member, Science Committee, bioGENESIS, FUTURE EARTH. She is presently Editor-in-Chief, Phytomorphology, International Society of Plant Morphologists, Delhi, India and serves on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Botany, Botanical Society of America, USA, the Journal of Biosciences and Journal of Genetics, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, India. She is very much interested in propagating science and she is the one among the founder member of Tamilnadu Science Forum.


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