genetics

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…
Walter S. Sutton and the Chromosomes

Walter S. Sutton and the Chromosomes

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…
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…
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…
Sewall G. Wright and Population Genetics

Sewall G. Wright and Population Genetics

On December 21, 1889, American geneticist Sewall Green Wright was born. Wright is known for his influential work on evolutionary theory and also for his work on path analysis. He was a founder of population genetics alongside Ronald Fisher and J.B.S. Haldane, which was a major step in the development of the modern evolutionary synthesis combining genetics with evolution. Sewall Wright was the brother of the aeronautical engineer Theodore Paul…
Seymour Benzer and Behavioural Genetics

Seymour Benzer and Behavioural Genetics

On October 15, 1921, American physicist, molecular biologist and behavioral geneticist Seymour Benzer was born. Benzer is known for having developed a method for determining the detailed structure of viral genes. He coined the term cistron (1957) to denote functional subunits of genes. He also did much to elucidate the nature of genetic anomalies, called nonsense mutations, in terms of the nucleotide sequence of DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid. Seymour Benzer early developed…
Alfred Sturtevant and the Chromosomes

Alfred Sturtevant and the Chromosomes

On November 21, 1891, American geneticist Alfred Henry Sturtevant was born. Sturtevant constructed the first genetic map of a chromosome in 1913. Throughout his career he worked on the organism Drosophila melanogaster with Thomas Hunt Morgan. By watching the development of flies in which the earliest cell division produced two different genomes, he measured the embryonic distance between organs in a unit which is called the sturt in his honor.…
Rosalind Franklin and the Beauty of the DNA Structure

Rosalind Franklin and the Beauty of the DNA Structure

Rosalind Franklin (1920–1958) 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 of DNA’s double helix structure for which they were awarded a Nobel Prize. Rosalind Franklin was born in Notting Hill, London, as the second of five…
Barbara McClintock and Cytogenetics

Barbara McClintock and Cytogenetics

Barbara McClintock (1902-1992) 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. Maybe, firt of all you might ask, what is cytogenetics. Well, cytogenetics is a branch of genetics that is concerned with the study of the structure and function of the cell, especially the chromosomes. Chromosomes, as being a…
Gregor Mendel and the Rules of Inheritance

Gregor Mendel and the Rules of Inheritance

Gregor Mendel (1822 – 1884) 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. Mendel grew up in a farmer’s family and cultivated bees from early ages. In the 1840s, Mendel enrolled at the university, but soon gave…
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