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Edmund Beecher Wilson

Edmund Beecher WilsonBorn: 19-Oct-1856
Birthplace: Geneva, IL
Died: 3-Mar-1939
Location of death: New York City
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Biologist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: X and Y chromosomes

Biologist Edmund Beecher Wilson studied the role of heredity in cellular development and, working independently of Nettie Stevens, both scientists co-discovered the chromosomal basis of sex, in concurrent papers published in 1905. Their work effectively settled the long scientific debate over whether sex is determined by heredity or by environmental factors.

Wilson, who was born before Darwin's Origin of Species was published, is generally cited as America's first cellular biologist. He wrote extensively on cellular structure and general biology, and stressed that biology is comprised of different factors, including embryology, evolution, and heredity. He headed Columbia University's Zoology Department in the early decades of the 20th century, where Wilson, with his friend Thomas H. Morgan and his student Hermann J. Muller, helped establish the modern science of genetics.

Father: Isaac Wilson
Mother: Wilson (m. 1843)
Brother: Frank
Sister: Ellen
Brother: Charles
Sister: Harriet
Wife: Anne Maynard Kidder (b. 1880, m. 1904, one daughter)
Daughter: Nancy (cellist)

    University: Antioch College
    University: University of Chicago
    University: PhB Biology, Yale University (1878)
    University: PhD Biology, Johns Hopkins University (1881)
    Teacher: Biology, Williams College (1883-84)
    Lecturer: Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1884-85)
    Professor: Biology, Bryn Mawr College (1885-91)
    Professor: Biology, Columbia University (1891-97)
    Professor: Zoology, Columbia University (1897-1928)

    NAS Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal 1925
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1902)
    American Association for the Advancement of Science (1913)

Author of books:
An Introduction to General Biology (1887, textbook; with William Thompson Sedgwick)
The Embryology of the Earthworm (1889)
Amphioxus, and the Mosaic Theory of Development (1893)
Atlas of Fertilization and Karyokinesis (1895)
The Cell in Development and Inheritance (1896)
The Physical Basis of Life (1923)


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