genetics

Rosalind Franklin and the Beauty of the DNA Structure

Rosalind Franklin and the Beauty of the DNA Structure

On July 25, 1920, British biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Elsie Franklin was born. She made the first clear X-ray images of DNA’s structure. Her work was described as the most beautiful X-ray photographs ever taken. Franklin’s ‘Photo 51’ informed Crick and Watson [5] of DNA’s double helix structure for which they were awarded a Nobel Prize. Rosalind Franklin – Early Years Rosalind Franklin was born in Notting Hill, London, as the second of five…
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Barbara McClintock and Cytogenetics

Barbara McClintock and Cytogenetics

On June 16, 1902, American cytogeneticist Barbara McClintock was born. She is one of the world’s most distinguished cytogeneticists and received the 1983 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine. “If chromosomes are broken by various means, the broken ends appear to be adhesive and tend to fuse with one another 2-by-2. This has been abundantly illustrated in the studies of chromosomal aberrations induced by X-ray treatment. It also occurs after mechanical rupture…
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Gregor Mendel and the Rules of Inheritance

Gregor Mendel and the Rules of Inheritance

On February 8, 1865, German-speaking Silesian scientist and Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel publishes his “Versuche über Pflanzenhybride” (Experiments on Plant Hybridization) in which he describes his experiments with peas, which later became the foundation of the so-called Mendelian inheritance of genetics. “It is willingly granted that by cultivation the origination of new varieties is favored, and that by man’s labor many varieties are acquired which, under natural conditions, would be lost; but nothing…
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Sir Francis Galton – Polymath

Sir Francis Galton – Polymath

On February 16, 1822, the cousin of Charles Darwin, Sir Francis Galton was born. Galton the polymath, was known for his fundamental contributions to anthropology, geographics, genetics, psychology, statistics, and eugenics. He also was the first to apply statistical methods to the study of human differences and inheritance of intelligence, and introduced the use of questionnaires and surveys for collecting data on human communities, which he needed for genealogical and biographical works and for…
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August Weismann – the Founder of Neo-Darwinism

August Weismann – the Founder of Neo-Darwinism

On January 17, 1834, German evolutionary biologist Friedrich Leopold August Weismann was born. He is considered the second most notable evolutionary theorist of the 19th century, after Charles Darwin, and one of the founders of Neo-Darwinism. “When we are confronted with facts which we see no possibility of understanding save on a single hypothesis, even though it be an undemonstratable one, we are naturally led to accept the hypothesis, at least until a better…
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Wilhelm Weinberg and the Genetic Equilibrium

Wilhelm Weinberg and the Genetic Equilibrium

On January 13, 1908, German physician and obstetrician-gynecologis Wilhelm Weinberg delivered an exposition of his ideas on the principle of genetic equilibrium in a lecture before the Verein für vaterländische Naturkunde in Württemberg. He developed the idea of genetic equilibrium independently of British mathematician G. H. Hardy.[4] Wilhelm Weinberg – Early Years Wilhelm Weinberg studied medicine at the Universities of Berlin, Tübingen, and Munich, Germany. He returned to his birth town, Stuttgart in…
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Max Delbrück – Co-founder of Modern Molecular Biology and Genetics

Max Delbrück – Co-founder of Modern Molecular Biology and Genetics

On September 4, 1906, German biophysicist and Nobel laureate Max Delbrück was born in Berlin. His best known achievement for that he won the Nobel prize was the discovy that bacteria become resistant to viruses (phages) as a result of genetic mutations. “If you’re too sloppy, then you never get reproducible results, and then you never can draw any conclusions; but if you are just a little sloppy, then when you see…
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How Crick and Watson deciphered the DNA

How Crick and Watson deciphered the DNA

On February 28, 1953,  American molecular biologist James D. Watson and English biophysicist Francis Crick announced to friends that they succeeded to determine the chemical structure of DNA. “When finally interpreted, the genetic messages encoded within our DNA molecules will provide the ultimate answers to the chemical underpinnings of human existence.” – James D. Watson, in [11] DNA and RNA – the Prelude In 1869, the Swiss physician Friedrich Miescher discovered a…
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Oswald Avery and the Avery-McLeod-McCarthy Experiment

Oswald Avery and the Avery-McLeod-McCarthy Experiment

On February 1, 1944, physician and medical researcher Oswald Avery together with his colleagues Colin MacLeod and Maclyn McCarty announced that DNA is the hereditary agent in a virus that would transform a virus from a harmless to a pathogenic version. This study was a key work in modern bacteriology. Prelude – The Griffith Experiment The achievement by the scientists Avery, MacLeod, and McCarty were based on Frederick Griffith’s studies on bacteria,…
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Nikolai Vavilov and the Centres of Origin of Cultivated Plants

Nikolai Vavilov and the Centres of Origin of Cultivated Plants

On November 25, 1887, Russian and Soviet botanist and geneticist Nikolai Vavilov was born. Vavilov is best known for having identified the centres of origin of cultivated plants. He devoted his life to the study and improvement of wheat, corn, and other cereal crops that sustain the global population. He established 400 research institutes and made expeditions throughout the world (1916-33), leading Russian plant hunters on the first attempt to “cover the…
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