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George Beadle was an American geneticist who demonstrated how genes affect heredity, particularly in the production of proteins. He was awarded the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
See the fact file below for more information on the George Beadle or alternatively, you can download our 25-page George Beadle worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
- George Wells Beadle was born on October 22, 1903 in Wahoo, Nebraska.
- George’s father, Chauncey Elmer Beadle, was a farmer who owned a 40-acre farm together with George’s mother, Hattie Albro.
- George attended Wahoo High School where he was recognized and encouraged by one of his teachers to focus on science.
- Having been raised on a farm, George might have become a farmer had he not decided to attend the College of Agriculture in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1922.
- George’s mother died in 1908 and his younger brother died in 1913, which put some pressure on him to take over the family farm.
- In 1926, George Beadle obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nebraska.
- Beadle continued his studies at the same university and for a year researched hybrid wheat and worked with Franklin Keim, an agronomy professor.
- His farm experience provided him with a good background for his research.
- In 1927, Beadle was awarded his Master of Science degree at Cornell University.
- Subsequently, he accepted a position as teaching assistant at Cornell University, where he worked until 1931.
- At Cornell, Beadle’s thesis was on Mendelian asynapsis in Zea mays.
- With Professors Rollins Emerson and Lester Sharp, Beadle investigated several sterile mutants of maize.
- They established that mutations can affect the behavior of chromosomes at different stages during meiosis.
- Beadle’s thesis was entitled ‘Genetical and Cytological Studies of Mendelian Asynapsis in Zea mays’.
- In 1931, Beadle obtained his doctorate degree from Cornell University.
- In 1931, Beadle was awarded a Fellowship from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California, where he worked until 1936.
- In 1935, he made a six-month visit to Paris in order to study the development of eye pigment in the fruit fly, which later led to his major work on the biochemistry of the genetics of the fungus Neurospora.
- After Beadle left the California Institute of Technology in 1936, he had a brief stint working as Assistant Professor of Genetics at Harvard University.
- A year later, he received an appointment as Professor of Biology (Genetics) at Stanford University and remained there for nine years and worked on his research that won him a Nobel Prize.
- In 1946, Beadle returned to the California Institute of Technology and became a professor of biology and chairman of the Division of Biology, and worked there until 1961.
- In January 1961, he was elected chancellor and president of the University of Chicago.
- His retirement from the university in 1968 was followed by his appointment as the Director of the American Medical Association’s Institute for Biomedical Research, where he served until 1970.
- From his work on maize at Caltech, Beadle shifted his focus to gene research, working under Thomas Hunt Morgan who studied the genetics of the Drosophila fruit fly, particularly the crossing-over in meiosis.
- Beadle had a growing interest in how genes affect embryonic development.
- Beadle decided to study the development of eye pigment in the fruit fly.
- During his six-month visit in Paris, he conducted his scientific study in collaboration with French embryologist Boris Ephrussi, at the Institut de Biologie physico-chimique.
- By 1937, Beadle had decided that the fruit fly was not the ideal organism for his studies and searched for another simpler subject.
- At Stanford University, Beadle chose to work on the fungus Neurospora and collaborated with biochemist Edward Lawrie Tatum.
- Together, they investigated the different nutritional requirements of the mutants produced by the fungus upon its exposure to x-rays.
- They deduced that each gene determined specific enzyme structure and that each enzyme allowed a single chemical reaction to proceed, which became known as the “one gene-one enzyme hypothesis”.
- They published their results in 1941.
- For their research, they were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1958, sharing the award with geneticist Joshua Lederberg.
- Beadle also wrote “The Language of Life: An Introduction to the Science of Genetics” which was published in 1966.
- In 1946, Beadle was elected as a Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
- He was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of London, the American Society, the Genetics Society of America where he he was appointed president in 1946, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science where he was president in 1955.
- Beadle received many awards in his lifetime, including the Dyer Award (1951) and the Albert Einstein Commemorative Award in Science (1958).
- George Beadle’s first wife, Marion Hill, was a botanist. They married in 1928 and divorced in 1953.
- They had a son named David.
- Beadle’s second wife was Muriel McClure, a writer.
- Beadle was an atheist.
- Beadle retired in 1968 but still continued to study the origins of maize.
- He developed Alzheimer’s disease in 1981.
- At 85 years old, he died on June 9, 1989.
George Beadle Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the George Beadle across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use George Beadle worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about George Beadle who was an American geneticist who demonstrated how genes affect heredity, particularly in the production of proteins. He was awarded the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- George Beadle Facts
- Beadle’s Biography
- Terms to Remember
- Sequencing Life Events
- True or False?
- Odd One Out
- Illustrated Research
- Nobel Winners
- Famous Geneticists
- Further Questions
- Letter to George Beadle
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