"Recently, there has been much debate about consciousness in animals – even in plants – and I have observed in my research, and in my love for all creatures on this earth, that all life is aware and responsive to surroundings."
— Marilyn Monk


Marilyn Monk is a research scientist in molecular biology, initially — from 1959 to 1972 — in the fields of DNA replication and repair in bacteria and their plasmids and viruses, working in Melbourne, London, Paris, Leicester and Edinburgh. After a brief period — from 1972 to 1974 — establishing the parameters of aggregation of the slime mould, she moved to the field of development biology in UCL (Galton Laboratory and Institute of Child Health) where she established the new field of molecular embryology — 1974 to 2009.

Hierarchy of Consciousness Diagram
Hierarchy of consciousness in evolution

Marilyn’s research extended the sensitivity of molecular techniques to the level of the single cell, thus bringing molecular biology to the limited cells available in early development. Contrary to the Weismman doctrine, she showed that the germ line in mammalian development arose late in development. Her early experiments in the field of epigenetics, and the regulation of gene expression in early development, established methylation of DNA as a mechanism for gene silencing. She discovered the phenomenon of deprogramming — the erasure of DNA methylation in early development to restore totipotency to embryonic stem cells. Modifications inherited in sperm and egg surviving this erasure in early development demonstrated a molecular mechanism for Lamarckian inheritance across generations. Clinically, her pioneering experiments with Cathy Holding established the feasibility of preimplantation genetic diagnosis for couples at risk of having a baby with a serious genetic disease, and identified new embryo/cancer genes towards prevention, treatment or cure of cancer.

In addition to her scientific career, she has a longstanding interest in philosophy, psychology, religion and spirituality and is qualified as a Psychosynthesis Counsellor and Alexander Technique Teacher.

Books and Chapters by Marilyn Monk

PDF cover

Chapter: Diagnosis of Genetic Disease in Preimplantation Embryos

Marilyn Monk
Nobel Symposium: Etiology of Human Disease at the DNA level, Chapter 17, Pages 245-259, 1991. Raven Press

PDF cover

Chapter: Epigenetic programming of gene expression and imprinting in mouse and human development

Marilyn Monk
Organisation of the Early Vertebrate Embryo, Chapter 2, Pages 11-22 1995. Plenum Press

PDF cover

Mammalian Development: A Practical Approach

Edited by Marilyn Monk
Oxford University Press, 1987

Papers of Note

PDF cover

A Hierarchy of Consciousness from Atom to Cosmos

Marilyn Monk
Integral Review, Volume 16, Number 2, August 2020

PDF cover

Mammalian Embryonic Development - Insights from Studies on the X Chromosome

Marilyn Monk
Cytogenetic and Genome Research, Volume 99(1-4), Pages 200-209, February 2002

PDF cover

Of Microbes, Mice and Man

Marilyn Monk
The International Journal of Developmental Biology, Volume 45, Number 3, Pages 497-507, February 2001

PDF cover

Human Embryonic Genes Re-Expressed in Cancer Cells

Marilyn Monk and Cathy Holding
Oncogene, Volume 20, Pages 8085-8091, 2001

PDF cover

Variation in Epigenetic Inheritance

Marilyn Monk
Trends in Genetics, Volume 6, Number 4, Pages 110-114, April 1990

PDF cover

X-Chromosome Inactivation Mosaicism in the Three Germ Layers and the Germ Line of the Mouse Embryo

A. Mcmahon, M. Fosten and Marilyn Monk
Journal of embryology and experimental morphology, Volume 74, Pages 207-220, 1983


Who's Who in Open Science

Julia Assante   near-death experience, archaeology, art history of the ancient near east Henry Bauer   electrochemistry, history, philosophy, sociology of science Mario Beauregard   neuroscience, neuropsychology, mystical experience, postmaterialist science Marc Bekoff   animal behavior, cognitive ethology, behavioral ecology, compassionate conservation Daryl Bem   psi, self-perception theory of attitude formation, social psychology, physics William Bengston   energy healing, sociology, research methods and statistics Dick Bierman   consciousness and quantum physics, artificial intelligence Stephen E. Braude   parapsychology, philosophical psychopathology James Carpenter   parapsychology, clinical psychology Deepak Chopra   consciousness, mind-body medicine, endocrinology Allan Leslie Combs   consciousness, neuropsychology, systems sciences Larry Dossey   internal medicine, Explore, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine Brenda J Dunne   PEAR laboratory, consciousness, psychology Peter Fenwick   neuropsychiatry, near-death experience, consciousness Bruce Greyson   near-death experience, psychiatry, neurobehavioral science Stuart Hameroff   consciousness, microtubules, anesthesiology Robert Jahn   PEAR laboratory, physics, aerospace engineering Brian Josephson   Nobel Prize in physics, tunnelling effect in superconductivity Menas Kafatos   computational physics, astrophysics, consciousness Bernardo Kastrup   metaphysical idealism, reconfigurable computing, AI Stanley Krippner   consciousness, psychology, dream research Pim van Lommel   near-death experience, cardiology David Luke   altered states of consciousness, transpersonal psychology, parapsychology Lisa Miller   clinical psychology, mind-body medicine, spirituality in children Kathleen Noble   consciousness, clinical and counseling psychology, early university entrance Alexander Moreira-Almeida   spiritualily and health, mind-brain problem, mediums, psychiatry Elaine Morgan   the aquatic ape hypothesis, evolutionary anthropology Roger Nelson   Global Consciousness Project, experimental psychology, psychophysiology, Marilyn Monk   molecular biology, epigenetics, methylation of DNA, deprogramming Adrian Parker   the ganzfeld technique, psychical research, clinical psychology J Kim Penberthy   mindfulness, psychiatry, clinical psychology Gerald Pollack   the fourth phase of water, medical and biological engineering Diane Powell   consciousness, autistic savants, neuropsychiatry, clinical psychiatry Dean Radin   consciousness, psychology, physics, electrical engineering Beverly Rubik   biophysics, consciousness, spiritual healing, energy medicine Marilyn Schlitz   mind-body medicine, parapsychology Gary Schwartz   spirit detection, life after death, dream precognition, mediums Rupert Sheldrake   morphic resonance, telepathy, the sense of being stared at, biology Stephan A Schwartz   remote viewing in archaeology, nonlocal consciousness Rudolph Tanzi   Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's, genetics and aging, neurology Russell Targ   lasers, remote viewing, Stanford Research Institute Charles T Tart   transpersonal psychology, altered states of consciousness, dreaming, hypnosis Neil Theise   multi-organ adult stem cell plasticity, pathology, theoretical biology, complexity Jim Tucker   psychiatry, neurobehavioral science, children who remember previous lives Cassandra Vieten   IONS, mindfulness, addiction, mind-body medicine Harald Walach   consciousness, homeopathy, complementary medicine, clinical psychology Marjorie Woollacott   meditation, near-death experience, human physiology, neuroscience