Barbara McClintock

Geneticist Class of December 1981
location icon Location
Cold Spring Harbor, New York
age iconAge
79 at time of award
age iconDate Deceased
September 02, 1992

About Barbara's Work

Barbara McClintock was a geneticist interested in natural mechanisms that alter the time and type of gene expression during plant development.

When McClintock began her studies, genetics was not recognized as a distinct discipline.  Although Mendelian inheritance was well established at the time, little was known of the relation of gene expressions to the chromosome, the carrier of the genes.  McClintock’s goal was to correlate specific modifications in chromosome organization with specific changes in gene expression.  Her pioneering work contributed to the significance of genetics as a field.


McClintock was a Distinguished Service Member of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, stationed at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory since 1942.  She served as the Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University from 1965-74.  Her honors included election to the National Academy of Sciences (1944), the National Medal of Science (1970), the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (1981), the Wolf Prize in Medicine (1981), the Charles Leopold Mayer Prize from the Academie des Sciences, Institut de France (1982), and the Nobel Prize in Medicine (1983), among others.

McClintock received a B.S. (1923), M.A. (1925), and a Ph.D. (1927) from Cornell University. 

Last updated January 1, 2005.

Published on December 1, 1981

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