Ruth Sager

ursula at biodec.wustl.edu ursula at biodec.wustl.edu
Wed Apr 2 18:14:06 EST 1997

There is no question that without Ruth Sager, most of us would be doing
something else.  As a young researcher, and often under the very hostile
circumstances visited upon women scientists of her generation, she saw
the potential of working with Chlamydomonas and carried out many
foundational studies.  She worked out the conditions for inducing
gametes, convinced George Palade to carry out the first electron
microsopic analysis of the organism, and then, of course, discovered the
uniparental inheritance of chloroplast genes.  There was much initial
resistance to her findings but she was as determined as she was brilliant,
and eventually she and her talented collaborator, Zenta
Ramanis, were able to provide compelling data to support her
interpretations.  As a graduate student I watched with fascination the
intense intellectual battles fought between Chiang, Gillham, Levine, and
Sager -- we're much more polite these days -- and in the end, our
understanding of the organism was greatly enhanced by their competition.
We still, of course, don't understand how UP inheritance works at a
molecular level, but when we do, I hope that most of Ruth's intriguing
ideas will be vindicated.

Ursula Goodenough
ursula at biodec.wustl.edu

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