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Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock

06/16/1902 - 09/02/1992

Barbara McClintock and her life’s work are absolutely crucial in understanding how the genes work in the control, regulation and transmission of traits. Unfortunately, as a woman in science her path was not easy and her idea’s even if correct were not accepted. At one point she even stopped herself from publishing her work until someone else (two men) published a piece explaining how genes worked in the lac operon and she could prove she made the discovery first. Working with the maize plant she was able to show how that the genes in the parent chromosomes contain the genes responsible for the traits shown in their progeny. This work did not go unnoticed despite her being a woman and led to her becoming recognized as a fantastic cytologist. She went on to become the third woman ever to be inducted into the National Academy of Science in Washington and the first ever female president of the Genetics society of America.

In the 1970’s her discovery was finally recognized for what it was and the uses of it established in all fields for, her work not only applied to Maize plants, but all living things with chromosomes. In 1983 she received the Nobel Prize in Physiology for her contributions to science.