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who discovered arabidopsis? Laibach and Redei or Langridge?

Elliot Meyerowitz meyerow at cco.caltech.edu
Fri Nov 20 15:01:16 EST 1998

Arabidopsis thaliana was discovered by Johannes Thal (hence, thaliana) in
the Harz mountains in the sixteenth century, though he called it Pilosella
siliquosa (and it has gone through a number of name changes since).  The
earliest report of a mutant (that I know of) was in 1873 (by A. Braun).  F.
Laibach first summarized the potential of Arabidopsis thaliana as a model
organism for genetics in 1943 - he did some work on it much earlier though,
publishing its correct chromosome number in 1907.  The first collection of
induced mutants was made by Laibach's student E. Reinholz.  Her thesis was
submitted in 1945, the work published in 1947.  Langridge played an
important role in establishing the properties and utility of the organism
for laboratory studies in the 1950s, as did Rédei and others (such as J.H.
van der Veen in the Netherlands, J. Veleminsky in Czechoslovakia and G.
Röbbelen in Germany) in the 1960s.  One of Rédei's many important
contributions was to write scholarly reviews on Arabidopsis, a particularly
thorough one is in Bibliographica Genetica vol 20, No. 2, 1970, pp. 1- 151.
He wrote a more easily found one in Ann. Rev. Genet. (1975) vol. 9,111-127.
Both go through some of the early history of the use of Arabidopsis in the
laboratory, though the longer 1970 one has all the details.

Elliot Meyerowitz
Division of Biology 156-29
California Institute of Technology
1200 East California Boulevard
Pasadena, California 91125, USA

telephone: (626) 395-6889            email: meyerow at cco.caltech.edu
fax: (626) 449-0756         WWW: http://www.caltech.edu/~meyerowitz/

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