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Nobel Prizes and Laureates

Nobel Prizes and Laureates

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1983
Barbara McClintock

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Barbara McClintock - Facts

Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock

Born: 16 June 1902, Hartford, CT, USA

Died: 2 September 1992, Huntington, NY, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA

Prize motivation: "for her discovery of mobile genetic elements"

Field: genetics

Prize share: 1/1

Discovered Mobile Genetic Elements, "Jumping Genes"

Many characteristics of organisms are determined by heredity - that is, by their genes - which are stored in the chromosomes inside their cells' nuclei. Barbara McClintock studied corn's hereditary characteristics, for example the different colors of its kernels. She studied how these characteristics are passed down through generations and linked this to changes in the plants' chromosomes. During the 1940s and 1950s McClintock proved that genetic elements can sometimes change position on a chromosome and that this causes nearby genes to become active or inactive.

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