A Feeling for the Organism: The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock Chapter Abstracts for Teachers

Evelyn Fox Keller
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Chapter Abstracts

* Genetics was a young science when Barbara McClintock became involved in it. Barbara enrolled at Cornell in 1919. She earned her PhD in botany from Cornell's College of Agriculture.

* Cornell's geneticists studied mostly maize, which matures slowly. Fruit flies, or Drosophila, were also being studied by other scientists. Drosophilia generate new generations within ten days, allowing for detailed experimentation.

* McClintock believed that both fruit flies and corn could be studied at the genetic level by examining chromosomes at the microscopic level and not just through breeding.

* McClintock and her student, Harriet Creighton, published a paper in 1931 that cataloged the sizes and shapes of chromosomes and talked about sex cells exchanging chromosomes during fertilization. This paper firmly established a link between chromosomes and genetics.

* McClintock continued her work and was nominated vice-president of the Genetics Society of America in 1939, a member of the National Academy of...

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