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William Bateson

William BatesonBorn: 8-Aug-1861
Birthplace: Whitby, Yorkshire, England
Died: 8-Feb-1926
Location of death: London, England
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Biologist

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Founder of genetics

Educated at Rugby School and at Cambridge, Bateson studied morphology (shapes of species), delving into evolution to attempt classification of the echinoderms with which he worked. A forgotten paper by Austrian monk Gregor Mendel, "Experiments with Plant Hybrids" (1866), explained some of his observations, and he translated the paper into English. Further studies in that vein resulted in a lengthy work, Materials for the Study of Variation, which postulated that evolution might also work with abruptness, as opposed to Charles Darwin's theory of gradual change. Another discovery of his is the linkage of certain traits, for instance, with sweet peas he found the shape of the pollen related to the color of the flower -- his explanation of this was flawed, using what he termed a "vibratory theory of inheritance." Linkage is better explained by simple close proximity of the dissimilar genes on the chromosomes. Bateson named the new science of inheritance "genetics", was appointed Professor of Genetics at Cambridge in 1908, and co-founded the Journal of Genetics with fellow genetecist Reginald Punnett. He retired after two years to become director of the John Innes Horticultural Institution, where he stayed until his death in 1926.

Wife: Caroline Beatrice Durham
Son: Gregory Bateson (anthropologist)

    High School: Rugby School
    University: Johns Hopkins University (1883-84)
    University: St. John's College, Cambridge University (1887-90)
    Professor: Genetics, Cambridge University (1908-10)

    Darwin Medal 1904

Author of books:
Materials for the Study of Variation (1894)
Mendel's Principles of Heredity (1902)
Problems of Genetics (1913)


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