genetics

Crick and Watson decipher the DNA

Crick and Watson decipher 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. Already in the 19th century biochemists were able to isolate DNA and RNA from the cell nuclei mixed together. They later found out that DNA and RNA had to be distinct from each other. The nuclein was identified by Friedrich Miescher in 1869 and he…
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The Avery-McLeod-McCarthy Experiment

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. The achievement by the scientists Avery, MacLeod, and McCarty were based on Frederick Griffith’s studies on bacteria, believing that bacteria types were…
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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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Edward Murray East and the Hybrid Corn

Edward Murray East and the Hybrid Corn

On October 4, 1879, American plant geneticist, botanist, agronomist and eugenisist Edward Murray East was born. East is known for his experiments that led to the development of hybrid corn and his support of ‘forced’ elimination of the ‘unfit’ based on eugenic findings. “Genetics has enticed a great many explorers during the past two decades. They have labored with fruit-flies and guinea-pigs, with sweet peas and corn, with thousands of animals and…
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Thomas Hunt Morgan and the Chromosome Theory of Heredity

Thomas Hunt Morgan and the Chromosome Theory of Heredity

On September 25, 1866, American evolutionary biologist, geneticist, embryologist, and science author Thomas Hunt Morgan was born. He is famous for his experimental research with the fruit fly by which he established the chromosome theory of heredity. Thomas Hunt Morgan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1933 for discoveries elucidating the role that the chromosome plays in heredity. Thomas Hunt Morgan joined the State College of Kentucky, today known as the…
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Carl Erich Correns and the Principles of Heredity

Carl Erich Correns and the Principles of Heredity

On September 19, 1864, German botanist and geneticist Carl Erich Correns was born. Correns is notable primarily for his independent discovery of the principles of heredity, and for his rediscovery of Gregor Mendel‘s earlier paper on that subject, which he achieved simultaneously but independently of the botanists Erich Tschermak and Hugo de Vries, and the agronomist William Jasper Spillman. Carl Erich Correns entered the University of Munich in 1885, where he studied…
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William Bateson and the Study of Heredity

William Bateson and the Study of Heredity

On August 8 1861, English biologist William Bateson was born. Bateson was the first person to use the term genetics to describe the study of heredity, and the chief populariser of the ideas of Gregor Mendel following their rediscovery in 1900 by Hugo de Vries and Carl Correns. William Bateson graduated from St John’s College in Cambridge in natural sciences. He traveled to the United States in order to study embryology and investigate…
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Walter S. Sutton developed the Chromosome Theory

Walter S. Sutton developed the Chromosome Theory

On April 5, 1877, American geneticist and physician Walter Stanborough Sutton was born. Sutton’s most significant contribution to present-day biology was his theory that the Mendelian laws of inheritance could be applied to chromosomes at the cellular level of living organisms. This is now known as the Boveri-Sutton chromosome theory. He furthermore provided the first conclusive evidence that chromosomes carry the units of inheritance and occur in distinct pairs. Walter Sutton studied…
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Theodosius Dobzhansky and the Unifying modern Evolutionary Synthesis

Theodosius Dobzhansky and the Unifying modern Evolutionary Synthesis

On January 25, 1900, American geneticist and evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky was born. Dobzhansky was a central figure in the field of evolutionary biology for his work in shaping the unifying modern evolutionary synthesis. He made the first significant synthesis of Charles Darwin‘s theory of evolution with Gregor Mendel‘s theory of genetics in his book Genetics and the Origin of Species (1937). “[Evolution] is a general postulate to which all theories, all…
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Alec Jeffreys and the Genetic Fingerprint

Alec Jeffreys and the Genetic Fingerprint

On January 9, 1950, British geneticist Alec Jeffreys was born. In 1984, Jeffreys developed techniques for DNA fingerprinting and DNA profiling which are now used worldwide in forensic science to assist police detective work and to resolve paternity and immigration disputes. When Alec Jeffreys grew up, his father is known to have supported his curiosity, even though an accident with sulphuric acid left a permament scar on his chin. Less dangerously, Jeffreys also received a Victorian-era…
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