Barbara McClintock

Scientist, Academic

1902 – 1992

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Who was Barbara McClintock?

Barbara McClintock, was an American scientist and one of the world's most distinguished cytogeneticists, the 1983 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine. McClintock received her PhD in botany from Cornell University in 1927. There she started her career as the leader in the development of maize cytogenetics, the focus of her research for the rest of her life. From the late 1920s, McClintock studied chromosomes and how they change during reproduction in maize. Her work was groundbreaking; she developed the technique for visualizing maize chromosomes and used microscopic analysis to demonstrate many fundamental genetic ideas. One of those ideas was the notion of genetic recombination by crossing-over during meiosis—a mechanism by which chromosomes exchange information. She produced the first genetic map for maize, linking regions of the chromosome to physical traits. She demonstrated the role of the telomere and centromere, regions of the chromosome that are important in the conservation of genetic information. She was recognized among the best in the field, awarded prestigious fellowships, and elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1944.

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Born
Jun 16, 1902
Hartford
Also known as
  • Barbara. McClintock
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • Cornell University
  • Erasmus Hall High School
  • Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • PhD
Employment
  • University of Missouri–Columbia
  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Lived in
  • Columbia
  • Hartford
  • Brooklyn
Died
Sep 2, 1992
Huntington

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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