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Bulletin - McClintock papers

Ed Coe CoeE at missouri.edu
Tue Oct 30 15:28:46 EST 2001


Subject: PAPERS OF NOBEL LAUREATE BARBARA MCCLINTOCK ADDED TO PROFILES
  INSCIENCE
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2001 14:29:37 -0500
From: "NIH OLIB (OD)" <olib at OD.NIH.GOV>
Reply-To: "NIH OLIB (OD)" <olib at OD.NIH.GOV>
To: HHSPRESS at LIST.NIH.GOV

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Library of Medicine
NIH NEWS ALERT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 29, 2001

CONTACT:
Robert Mehnert or
Kathleen Cravedi
(301) 496-6308
publicinfo at nlm.nih.gov

PAPERS OF NOBEL LAUREATE BARBARA MCCLINTOCK
ADDED TO PROFILES IN SCIENCE
(Bethesda, Maryland) -- It was so valuable that early settlers used it
as money and traded it for meat and furs.  It was the cause of the 1792
Whiskey Rebellion. It kept the early Colonists from starving. Cars can
use it as a fuel.  Moonshiners hoard it. And for one woman, Barbara
McClintock, the study of the genetics of this product resulted in her
winning the 1983 Nobel prize. The object of all this attention? Corn.
Barbara McClintock, Ph.D., is the seventh scientist, and first woman, to
be added to National Library of Medicine's (NLM) "Profiles in Science"
website (http://www.profiles.nlm.nih.gov). This site is dedicated to the
lives and works of prominent 20th century biomedical scientists,
including Nobelists Joshua Lederberg, Julius Axelrod, and Marshall
Nirenberg. In an unusual joint effort, the National Library of Medicine
is collaborating with the American Philosophical Society -- the
repository for the McClintock papers -- to digitize and make them
available over the World Wide Web for use by educators, researchers, and
the public.
Barbara McClintock was born June 16, 1902, in Hartford, Connecticut, and
received her Ph.D. in botany at Cornell in 1927. She became one of the
founders of the field of maize (corn) cytogenetics, the genetic study of
maize at the cellular level.
"Barbara McClintock is recognized as one of the most distinguished
scientists of the 20th century," said Dr.  Alexa McCray, Director of the
Profiles in Science Project.  In 1944, she became the third woman
elected to the National Academy of Sciences. President Nixon awarded
McClintock the National Medal of Science and, in 1981, She became the
first recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Grant, now known informally as
the "genius" grant. In that same year, she was given the Albert and Mary
Lasker Award.
Beginning in the late 1920s, McClintock showed how genes in chromosomes
move during the breeding of maize plants.  Later, during the 1940s and
1950s, McClintock demonstrated how certain genes were responsible for
turning on or off physical characteristics, such as the color of leaves
or of individual corn kernels. Her theories to explain the suppression
or expression of genetic information from one generation of maize plants
to the next went counter to the common wisdom of molecular biology
prevalent during the 1950s.
In 1957, McClintock received funding from the National Science
Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation to study different varieties,
or races, of maize in South and Central America. She and her colleagues
spent two decades assembling data on differences in South American
maize, which were finally published in 1981 as The Chromosomal
Constitution of Races of Maize.
In 1983, at the age of 81, she received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or
Medicine for her work on "mobile genetic elements," that is, genetic
transposition, or the ability of genes to change position on the
chromosome. McClintock was the first woman to receive an unshared Nobel
Prize in that category.
The online exhibit features laboratory notes, correspondence,
unpublished manuscripts, lecture notes, photographs, charts,
illustrations, and audiovisual materials documenting the life and career
of Dr.  McClintock. Visitors to the McClintock site can view, for
example, her handwritten notes from a series of lectures at Caltech
University in 1954. Visitors can also see photographs of McClintock
during her many years of genetic research at Cold Spring Harbor
Laboratory.
"Profiles in Science" was launched September 1998 by the National
Library of Medicine, a part of the National Institutes of Health in
Bethesda, Maryland. The site is a continuing project and the Library
plans to announce each new collection as it is added.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Photographs of Dr. McClintock are available from NLM.
Email requests to publicinfo at nlm.nih.gov.





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