List of fourteen eminent geneticists:- 1. Gregor Johann Mendel 2. August Weismann 3. Carl Correns 4. Hugo de Vries 5. Erich Von Tschermak 6. W.L. Johannsen 7. Willian Bateson 8. Thomas Hunt Morgan 9. Nils Herman Nilsson Ehle 10. Richard Benedict Goldschmidt 11. Lewis John Stadler 12. M.S. Swaminathan 13. A.K. Sharma 14. R.P. Roy.
Eminent Geneticist # 1. Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-1884):
The father of Genetics:
Mendel was born on July 22, 1822 in Heinzendorf, a village in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Czechoslovakia). His father was a farmer (fruit grower). He was the second child of his father. His progress in school was very good and in 1834 he was sent to the Trophan High school. While studying there, he did private tuition to pay for his expenses.
He graduated in 1840 with a good record and was admitted to the Augustinian monastery at Brunn, Austria in 1843 and became priest in 1847. Later, he went to study natural sciences at Vienna University in 1851 but unfortunately failed and came back as a supply teacher of science in 1854. After three years, in 1857, he started his hybridization work on garden pea.
After seven years of his work in the monastery garden, he presented the results of his experiments at two meetings of the “Natural History society of Brunn” in 1865 now known as Mendel’s law of heredity or inheritance.
The observed data and conclusions were put in a paper entitled “Experiments in plant hybridization” and published in the annual proceedings of the society but his work was ignored for 34 years till 1900 when Mendel’s law’s of heredity were rediscovered by three botanists Hugo de Vries in Holland (Netherlands), E. Von Tschermak in Austria and Carl Correns in Germany independently.
In later years, Mendel also performed experiments with Phaseolus vulgaris (rajma), bees and climatology but gradually he became more and more inclined with the administrative work of monastery, of which he became an abbot in 1868. He died on 6 January 1884 of Bright’s disease long before his work was recognized.
Eminent Geneticist # 2. August Weismann (1834-1914):
The forerunner of Modern Genetics, August Weismann was born in Germany in 1834. Basically he was a biologist who cancelled the popular belief that acquired characters are inherited. He demonstrated his view that new born mice still managed to inherit the complete tail structure even after twenty two generations of cutting the tail of mice.
The hypothesis of “inheritance of acquired characters” and the theory of ‘pangenesis’, therefore, were replaced by ‘germplasm theory’ He regarded germplasm as reproductive tissue and somatoplasm which lacked the property of entering in to sexual reproduction, but were essential for the functioning of the individual.
Eminent Geneticist # 3. Carl Correns (1864-1933):
The re-discoverer of Mendel’s Work, Carl Correns performed extensive hybridization work during 1890 at the University of Tubingen (Germany) on peas, beans, maize and lilies. In 1900 he reached to the same results similar to those of Mendel in garden pea.
His work was mainly on maize hybrids, sex, mechanism of reproduction and self-sterility in plants. His work on in ‘incomplete dominance’ in 1903 and ‘cytoplasmic inheritance in 1909 in Mirabilis jalapa (4’ clock plant) has become a classic. He became later on Director of the K.W. Institute for Biology at Berlingahlem.
Eminent Geneticist # 4. Hugo de Vries (1848-1935):
The rediscovered of Mendel’s Work, Hugo de Vries was a Dutch botanist. He explained phenomenon of Xenia as a result of double fertilization in 1899. Again in 1901 he published “The mutation theory” and gave first modern statement of mutation theory.
Really he was an objective scientist, the lectures which he delivered at the university of California at Berkeley (1904) were published entitled “Species and varieties, their origin by mutation” including his booklet on plant breeding in 1906.
Eminent Geneticist # 5. Erich Von Tschermak:
The rediscovered of Mendel’s work, E.V. Tschermak was born in Austria on 15 Nov. 1871. In early years his experiments were mainly based on flowers, fruits and vegetables.
His experiments were related to heterosis and xenia effects as seen in the Pisum sativum. His most classical contribution is in the breeding of cereal grains where he worked on hybridization and correlations in each of the major grain crops like wheat, barley, and oats including rye.
Eminent Geneticist # 6. W.L. Johannsen (1857-1927):
W.L. Johannsen, a Danish botanist was born in 1857. In early age, his work was in the field of plant physiology. His first genetics paper entitled “Heredity and Variation” was published in 1896. He made application of statistical methods to analyse Mendelian principles of heredity.
He gave the terms gene, genotype, and phenotype. He also published a paper on pure line theory. He also wrote one of the first books in the field of Genetics published in 1905 “Elements of Genetics”. In the same year he became the Director of the institute of Plant physiology at the Copenhagen University.
Eminent Geneticist # 7. Willian Bateson (1861-1926):
The creator of Genetics, William Bateson was born on 8 August 1861 in Whithy Yorkshire, England. He published his popular book “Materials for the study of Variation” in 1894. He realized the importance of Mendel’s work and soon after published his “Mendelian principles” in 1909 and “Problems in Genetics” in 1913 and “Mendel’s principles of heredity a defence” in 1920.
William Bateson was appointed as first Professor of Genetics of Cambridge University in 1909 in the age of 48. Later, he became the first Director of the world famous research centre, John Innes Horticulture institute for cytology and genetics.
In collaboration with Prof. R.C. Punnett, he established the journal of genetics in 1911. He was the first scientist who reported gene interaction in chickens and Lathyrus odoratus. He also gave the terms genetics, allelomorphs, heterozygous, zygote, epistatic, hypostatic, coupling, repulsion etc. The great geneticist died on August 8, 1926.
Eminent Geneticist # 8. Thomas Hunt Morgan (1866-1945):
T.H. Morgan was born at Lexington, Kentucky, on 25 September 1866 who outlined the basis of modern genetics. On his cytological study he confirmed the role of chromosomes in sex determination. His findings with Drosophila mutants were published in 1910.
He also proved that crossing over occurs between sex-linked genes and that such crossing over is not random, i.e., sex linked genes are linked to each other. Again, it was proposed that linkage is dependent on the nearness of the genes concerned in the chromosomes. He was awarded Nobel Prize for his tremendous work in 1933.
Eminent Geneticist # 9. Nils Herman Nilsson Ehle (1873-1949):
Nilsson Ehle was born at Skurup, Sweden in 1873. He started his classical work on cereal genetics in 1909. He found that grain colour in wheat may be governed by one; two or three pair of factors & those genetic ratios of 3:1, 15:1 or 63:1 may be obtained respectively in second generation hybrids.
This work was followed by study on inheritance of different morphological characters in cereals, winter hardiness, the genetics of disease resistance and genetic analysis of several physiological characters.
He was appointed as Professor of Genetics at Lund in 1917. The contribution of Nilsson Ehle is too much in field of agriculture. By practical application of genetics he produced resistant characters in plants. Indeed, his work is a fine example of a combination of theoretical genetics and practical plant breeding.
Eminent Geneticist # 10. Richard Benedict Goldschmidt (1878-1958):
R.B. Goldschmidt was born in 1878 in Germany. The elaboration of concepts of genetics goes chiefly to Goldschmidt. Really, he was a keen observer. The major parts of his contribution to genetics are his most scientific work, the theory of evolution and theory of sex-determination.
He laid the genetic basis of geographical variation. He investigated the occurrence of position effect and phenocopies in nature. He published more than 200 research papers and 17 books including “understanding Heredity” and “Theoretical genetics”. He died in 1958 in the age of 80.
Eminent Geneticist # 11. Lewis John Stadler (1896-1954):
L.J. Stadler was born on 6 July 1896. Stadler was man of Agronomy concerned with field plot technique. It was Morgan’s book “The physical basis of heredity” which created an acute interest in him in genetics. In 1921, he got appointment as Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri in the department of Field crops. The greatest contribution of Stadler is study of gene mutation.
His first purely genetical research paper was published in 1925. Afterwards he gave a number of other important papers too. He studied the effects of short wave irradiation on the reproductive organs of the plant. He later proclaimed that radiation induced “gene mutations” in maize were not true gene change from one form to another. He died on 12 May 1954.
Eminent Geneticist # 12. M.S. Swaminathan:
M.S. Swaminathan was born in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu on 7 August 1925. After doing companionship of the IARI, New Delhi in 1949 in Genetics and Plant Breeding, went school of Agriculture, Cambridge University, U.K. and took his Ph.D. in 1952 and worked as a Research Associate in Genetics at the University of Wisconsin, USA during 1952 & ’53.
Dr. Swaminathan worked as very good teacher and research administrator at the IARI, New Delhi from 1957-1972. Later, he became the Directorial General of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research, New Delhi in 1972 & remained on that position till 1979. After this he became Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & afterwards member of planning commission, Government of India for a period of two years from 1980-1982.
His professional outline is full of reputations as Chairman, U.N. Advisory committee on science and technology for Development; Chairman (independent) FAO council; President, International union for the conservation of nature and Natural resources, Honorary Vice-President, world wildlife fund. Subsequently, he became Director-General of International Rice Research institute, Philippines from 1982- 1988.
Dr. Swaminathan’s work on the genetic relationship of wheat species is quoted worldwide. By his keen observation he identified the limitations to high yields in wheat and started the breeding programme for the same. He involved “Norin” dwarfing genes available from Mexico.
This concept of Dr. Swaminathan led to the Green Revolution in the Indian subcontinent. His recent researches also include rice breeding and biotechnology, impact of climate change on crop productivity and the conservation of coastal biodiversity with particular reference to mangrove ecosystem.
He has also been awarded the 1986 Albert Einstein world Award of Sciences for his great contribution in the field of plant genetics. Before it, he also received Ramon Magsysay award in 1971 and Padma Bhushan in 1972. In the words of Dr. N.E. Borlaug (Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 1970) the credit for recognizing the value of Mexican dwarf wheat’s goes to Dr. Swaminathan who made possible green revolution in Asia.
Eminent Geneticist # 13. A.K. Sharma:
Prof A.K. Sharma is known as father of Indian Cytology. He was born in Kolkata, West Bengal in 1924. He has specialization in cytogenetics, cytochemistry and cell biology.
The chief contributions made by Prof. Sharma include new techniques for studying the physical and chemical nature of chromosomes applied all over the world for plant, animal and human systems, repeat DNA analysis as a measure of genetic diversity, inducing division in adult nuclei through definite metabolic precursor, reorientation of taxonomy of Angiosperms, embryo irradiation and in-vitro cultures, the concept of dynamic DNA, the tissue culture as a means for conservation of endangered species and gene variability, varied chemical composition of chromosomes during organogenesis, differentiation and reproduction.
Prof. (Dr.) A.K. Sharma took his D.Sc. degree in 1955 from university of Kolkata and at present he is Professor in Department of Botany, University of Kolkata. His professional profile is full of prestigious and varied positions like President, Indian society of Cytologists and Geneticists (1976-1978), Indian Botanical Society (1980), President, Indian Science Congress (1981), Padma Bhushan (1983).
Eminent Geneticist # 14. R.P. Roy:
Prof. (Dr.) R.P. Roy was born at Gangapur, Bihar in 1920. He has specialization in Cytogenetics, plant Breeding, Cytotaxonomy and Tissue culture. He took his Ph.D. degree in 1953 from university of Cambridge, U.K.
The work of Dr. R.P. Roy on chromosomal analysis of the species of Aegilops led to the identification of species involved in the origin and evolution of bread wheat’s. He established the relative role of X and Y chromosomes in the determination of sex by raising an order of polyploid forms e.g., namely triploid, tetraploid, nentaploid and hexaploid and also trisome, double trisome etc.
He employed tissue culture to develop haploid, aneuploids. The pioneer cytogenetic investigations made by him are timber sal (Shorea robusta, S. assamica and a dozen other allied timber genera). He also performed analysis of genome in the fern genus Adiantum by developing interspecific hybrids.
He worked as Dean of science and Senior Professor of Botany; Coordinator, UGC, Centre of special Assistance in Cytogenetics CSIR at Patna university, at present he is there Emeritus Scientist since 1982.
He was honoured as President, Indian Science congress in 1972.