McClintock , Barbara
(1902–1992) American geneticist
The daughter of a physician, McClintock was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and educated at Cornell's College of Agriculture, where she received her PhD in 1927 for work in botany. She remained at Cornell until 1936 supported by various grants from the National Research Council and the Guggenheim Foundation. But there was no future at Cornell for her as, until 1947, only the department of home economics appointed women professors. Fortunately a new genetics department was being set up in the University of Missouri by Craig Stadler, who knew and admired her work, and she was offered a post as assistant professor there, although it was made clear to her that any further advancement would be unlikely. She left in 1941, and in 1944 was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, becoming only the third woman to be so honored. McClintock then joined the Carnegie Institute's Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York, where she remained until her death.
By the 1920s Morgan and other geneticists, working mainly with the Drosophila fruit fly, had established that gene action was connected with chromosomes and thereby established the new discipline of cytogenetics. Drosophila chromosomes, however, before the discovery of the giant salivary chromosomes by T. Painter in 1931, were too small to reveal much detail. McClintock chose to work with a variety of maize that possessed much more visible chromosomes. Further, the development of new staining techniques allowed McClintock to identify, distinguish, and number the ten maize chromosomes.
Morgan and his group had also demonstrated the existence of ‘linkage groups’ in Drosophila – groups of genes, such as those for white eyes and maleness, linked together because the genes themselves were sited near each other on a chromosome. In a series of papers published between 1929 and 1931, McClintock established similar linkage groups in maize. Because maize chromosomes were more visible under the microscope than those of Drosophila, McClintock was able to identify the chromosomal changes responsible for a change in phenotype and thus confirmed Morgan's work.
McClintock's own Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine, awarded in 1983, was for later work done on the so-called ‘jumping genes’. In the 1940s at Cold Spring Harbor, McClintock planted her maize and began to track a family of mutant genes responsible for changes in pigmentation. She was struck by the fact that mutation rates were variable. After several years' careful breeding, McClintock proposed that in addition to the normal genes responsible for pigmentation there were two other genes involved, which she called ‘controlling elements’.
One controlling element was found fairly close to the pigmentation gene and operated as a switch, activating and turning off the gene. The second element appeared to be located further away on the same chromosome and was a ‘rate gene’, controlling the rate at which the pigment gene was switched on and off. She further discovered that the controlling elements could move along the chromosome to a different site and could even move to different chromosomes where they would control different genes. McClintock gave a full description of the process oftransposition, as it became known, in her 1951 paper,Chromosome Organization and Genic Expression. McClintock's work was largely ignored until 1960 when controlling elements were identified in bacteria by Monod and Jacob.

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • McClintock, Barbara — born June 16, 1902, Hartford, Conn., U.S. died Sept. 2, 1992, Huntington, N.Y. U.S. geneticist. She received her doctorate from Cornell University. In the 1940s and 50s, her experiments with variations in the coloration of kernels of corn… …   Universalium

  • McClintock,Barbara — Mc·Clin·tock (mə klĭnʹtək, tŏk ), Barbara. 1902 1992. American genetic botanist. She won a 1983 Nobel Prize for discovering that genes are mobile within the chromosomes of a plant cell. * * * …   Universalium

  • McClintock, Barbara — ► (1902 92) Botánica estadounidense. Fue premio Nobel de Medicina y Fisiología en 1983, por sus descubrimientos de los «genes saltadores». * * * (16 jun. 1902, Hartford, Conn., EE.UU.–2 sep. 1992, Huntington, N.Y.). Genetista estadounidense.… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • McClintock — McClintock, Barbara …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Barbara — m. Lóg. Uno de los modos posibles del *silogismo, perteneciente a la primera figura. * * * Bárbara. □ V. rancho de Santa Bárbara. * * * Modo de silogismo válido de la primera figura. Ejemplo: Todos los humanos son mortales los persas son humanos… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Barbara McClintock — Infobox Scientist name = Barbara McClintock image width = 200px birth date = birth date|1902|6|16 birth place = Hartford, Connecticut, USA nationality = United States death date = death date and age|1992|9|2|1902|6|16 death place = Huntington,… …   Wikipedia

  • Barbara McClintock — Pour les articles homonymes, voir McClintock. Barbara McClintock Barbara McClintock au C.S.H. en 1947 Naissance …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Barbara McClintock — Barbara McClintock …   Wikipedia Español

  • Barbara — /bahr breuh, beuhr euh/, n. a female given name: from a Greek word meaning foreign, exotic. * * * (as used in expressions) Barbara Millicent Roberts Barbara Saint Cartland Dame Mary Barbara Hamilton Santa Barbara Islands Hepworth Dame Jocelyn… …   Universalium

  • Barbara McClintock — 1947 Barbara McClintock (* 16. Juni 1902 in Hartford, Connecticut; † 2. September 1992 in Huntington, New York) war eine US amerikanische Botanikerin und Genetikerin …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”