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Alfred Henry Sturtevant (November 21, 1891-April 6, 1970)

Emerson, Sterling (1971) Alfred Henry Sturtevant (November 21, 1891-April 6, 1970). Annual Review of Genetics, 5 . pp. 1-4. ISSN 0066-4197. doi:10.1146/

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It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of Sturtevant's scientific contributions to the development of present-day genetic concepts. Even so I am reluctant to attempt any such evaluation. Memories of a warm personal relationship extending over nearly fifty years distract me from strict objectivity. In any case, at the time (1913) of Sturtevant's earliest and perhaps most fundamental discovery (1) I was too young to appreciate its impact on contemporary biological thought. I doubt that a valid estimation of the worth of a particular contribution can be had without an understanding of the state of knowledge and interpretations generally held by scientists at the time. I do, however, vividly recall the extreme skepticism with which many biologists viewed genetic interpretations five, or even ten, years later, and I suspect that not all who accepted Mendelian interpretations could appreciate the importance of Sturtevant's deductions. It is fortunate for us that Sturtevant's penchant for accurate reporting overcame his innate modesty sufficiently to give something of his own assessment of the relation of his work to the particular time-in "A History of Genetics" (2), especially in the chapter titled "The Fly Room" which has been separately issued (3). It is also fortunate that a number of his most noteworthy publications were reissued in a single volume in commemoration of his seventieth birthday (4). As pointed out by a number of reviewers of this volume, some of whom were Sturtevant's contemporaries, it is remarkable that a single individual should have made so many fundamental contributions.

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Additional Information:© 1971 Annual Reviews.
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Official Citation:Alfred Henry Sturtevant (November 21, 1891-April 6, 1970). Sterling Emerson. Annual Review of Genetics 1971 5:1, 1-4; doi: 10.1146/
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:100772
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:16 Jan 2020 23:51
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:56

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