The Dynamic Genome: Barbara McClintock's Ideas in the Century of Genetics

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Barbara McClintock was born in 1902, within a few years of the rediscovery of Mendel's Laws. Her life, discoveries, and insights span the history of genetic science in this century. In the 1920s, she became a dominant figure in the group that flourished at Cornell University under R.A. Emerson and made remarkable technical conceptual advances in maize cytogenetics. These studies continued at the California Institute of Technology, in Freiburg, Germany, and at the University of Missouri. In 1942, she joined the ...
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Overview

Barbara McClintock was born in 1902, within a few years of the rediscovery of Mendel's Laws. Her life, discoveries, and insights span the history of genetic science in this century. In the 1920s, she became a dominant figure in the group that flourished at Cornell University under R.A. Emerson and made remarkable technical conceptual advances in maize cytogenetics. These studies continued at the California Institute of Technology, in Freiburg, Germany, and at the University of Missouri. In 1942, she joined the staff of the Carnegie Institution of Washington at Cold Spring Harbor, New York, where she remains a Distinguished Service Member. McClintock's unique ability to discern relationships between the behavior of chromosomes and the properties of the whole organism earned her early recognition. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1944 and to the presidency of the Genetics Society of America in 1945. Had she done no more, McClintock would have become a major figure in the history of genetics. But at Cold Spring Harbor, she began the studies on the consequence of dicentric chromosome formation and breakage that led her to the discovery of genetic elements capable moving within the genome and controlling expression of other genes. Although McClintock was universally respected and admired, the first reaction to these findings was often uncomprehending or indifferent, even dismissive. In due course, however, the generality of mobile genetic elements and the concept of a dynamic genome were understood and widely accepted, culminating in the award to McClintock of an unshared Nobel prize in 1983. As Barbara's 90th birthday approached, some of her many friends and colleagues were invited to write essays for the occasion. This book contains a kaleidoscope of contributions, many by those who discovered transposition in other organisms. Their essays give a remarkable account of the scientific legacy of one of the century's greatest geneticists.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A festschrift in honor of the 1983 Nobel Prize-winner in medicine, geneticist Barbara McClintock, on the occasion of her 90th birthday. Each essays's place marks the time at which McClintock's life or ideas intersected those of the author, and the whole is subdivided into parts that mark first the progress of McClintock's work and later the generalization of her discoveries and the penetration of her ideas into the mainstream of genetics. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879694227
  • Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1992
  • Pages: 422

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Cytogenetics
Reprint of Creighton and McClintock 1931: A Correlation of Cytological and Genetical Crossing-over in Zea mays 7
Recollections of Barbara McClintock's Cornell Years 13
Barbara McClintock: Reminiscences 19
Barbara McClintock: Recollections of a Graduate Student 25
Neurospora Chromosomes 33
The Early Years of Maize Genetics 45
Transposition
Reprint of McClintock 1952: Chromosome Organization and Genic Expression 73
Insertion by Phages and Transposons 109
Cold Spring Harbor 1944-1955: A Minimemoir 115
Annals of Mobile DNA Elements in Drosophila: The Impact and Influence of Barbara McClintock 117
The Mutable waxy and bronze1 Alleles of Maize 123
Remembrances of Barbara McClintock 133
The Nucleolar-organizing Element 139
Do Some "Parasitic" DNA Elements Earn an Honest Living? 145
The Plural of Heterochromatin 155
A Tapestry of Transposition 173
Reprint of McClintock 1956: Intranuclear Systems Controlling Gene Action and Mutation 185
Retirement
Reprint of Introduction: The Discovery and Characterization of Transposable Elements: The Collected Papers of Barbara McClintock 205
Kernels and Colonies: The Challenge of Pattern 213
Phage Mu: An Early Prokaryotic Controlling Element 223
Discovery of the Bacterial Transposon Tn10 225
McClintock (1933): Implications for Meiotic Chromosome Pairing 233
Twenty-five Years of Transposable Element Research in Koln 243
Obsession with Sequences 265
The Revenge of the Mayans 273
"Please Come to My Laboratory for Better Coffee, Fresh Orange Juice,...Conversation" 277
Transposable Elements (Ty) in Yeast 281
Controlling Elements, Mutable Alleles, and Mating-type Interconversion 289
Thinking about Programmed Genome Rearrangements in a Genome Static State of Mind 299
The Role of McClintock's Controlling Element Concept in the Story of Yeast Mating-type Switching 307
From Bacterial Flagella to Homeodomains 315
Discovery of Tc1 in the Nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans 319
Reprint of McClintock 1978: Mechanisms That Rapidly Reorganize the Genome 335
The Nobel Prize and a Molecular Retrospective
Reprint of McClintock 1984: Nobel Prize Lecture: The Significance of Responses of the Genome to Challenge 361
Broken Chromosomes and Telomeres 381
Maize Transposable Elements: A Story in Four Parts 389
Name Index 417
Subject Index 419
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