Barbara McClintock

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Date of Birth June 16, 1902
Place of Birth Hartford, Connecticut
Date of Death Sep 2, 1992 (90)
Horoscope Gemini

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Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock was an American scientist and cytogeneticist who was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. McClintock received her PhD in botany from Cornell University in 1927. There she started her career as the leader in the development of maize cytogenetics, the focus of her research for the rest of her life. From the late 1920s, McClintock studied chromosomes and how they change during reproduction in maize. She developed the technique for visualizing maize chromosomes and used microscopic analysis to demonstrate many fundamental genetic ideas. One of those ideas was the notion of genetic recombination by crossing-over during meiosis—a mechanism by which chromosomes exchange information. She produced the first genetic map for maize, linking regions of the chromosome to physical traits. She demonstrated the role of the telomere and centromere, regions of the chromosome that are important in the conservation of genetic information.

Born: Eleanor McClintock, June 16, 1902, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
Died: September 2, 1992, Huntington, New York, U.S.
Nationality: American
Fields: Cytogenetics
Institutions: University of Missouri, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Alma mater: Cornell University (BS) (MS) (PhD)
Thesis: A Cytological and Genetical Study of Triploid Maize (1927)
Known for: Work in genetic structure of maize
Notable awards: Member of the National Academy of Sciences (1944), National Medal of Science (1970), Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal (1981), Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize (1982), Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1983)

About Barbara McClintock

Winner of the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her study in genetic elements and genetic regulation. She was the first woman to win that prize unshared and she was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1944.

Before Fame

She attended Cornell University, where she studied botany.


A character in the book The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides was loosely based off her.

Family Life

She has three siblings.


She was influenced by Issac Newton.

Information related to Barbara McClintock

  • Timeline of women in science - This is a timeline of women in science, spanning from ancient history up to the 21st century.
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  • Women physiologists
  • Wolf Prize in Medicine laureates
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  • Erasmus Hall High School alumni
  • Recipients of the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research
  • American women botanists
  • Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumni
  • American women biologists
  • 20th-century American botanists
  • Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine
  • University of Missouri faculty
  • Evolutionary biologists
  • American Nobel laureates
  • National Medal of Science laureates
  • American geneticists
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Latest information about Barbara McClintock updated on October 30, 2020.

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