koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Wed Dec 3 17:32:12 EST 1997
At 1:15 PM -0500 12/3/97, Bill Purves wrote:
>As an officially Old Person, I'm old enough to remember some experiments
>done almost half a century ago by Jean Pierre Nitsch. He showed that
>the development of the receptacle into a handsome and tasty "strawberry"
>required auxin produced by the developing achenes. His paper includes
>some striking photos of bizarre results obtained when only three achenes
>were present as well as the appearance of normal strawberries and others
>with no achenes at all (but caused to develop to full size by treatment
>with IAA). This was part of his work for the Ph.D. at Caltech. Later,
>Nitsch conceived of, built, and for some years directed the Laboratoire
>du Phytotron at Gif-sur-Yvette for the French CNRS. This was modeled
>on and much scaled up from Frits Went's original "phytotron," now long
>gone, at Caltech. Some of Nitsch's peers never gave him the credit
>he so richly deserved, figuring that he wasn't a "real" Ph.D., having
>gotten his from that diploma mill, Caltech, rather than in France.
Thanks for this wonderful nugget of history.
I use some slides from his papers in my
classes...they are black and white. I wonder
if anyone ever repeated his work and did the
photos in color...I really should do that
sometime so that we can enliven what is a
really fascinating story. BTW, there were
some followup studies about 10 years ago that
did look at the natural auxins in a rigorous
way...some real nice work showing the kinds
and amounts of auxins produced by the achenes
that stimulate the receptacle expansion.
Ross Koning | koning at ecsu.ctstateu.edu
Biology Department | http://koning.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA | fax: 860-465-4479
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