Beadle, George W.

Beadle, George W. (Wells)

(1903–89) ; geneticist; born in Wahoo, Nebr. As a graduate student at Cornell (1927–31), he revealed that genetic defects relate to abnormal chromosomal behavior during meiosis. He served the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) (1931–36), then moved to Harvard (1936–37), where he induced X-ray mutagenesis in the fruit fly Drosophilia. He joined Stanford (1937–46), where, with collaborator Edward Tatum, he began research on the bread mold Neurospora to determine that specific genes control the synthesis of specific cellular substances. For this breakthrough, Beadle and Tatum shared half the 1958 Nobel Prize for physiology. Beadle returned to Caltech (1946–61), then joined the University of Chicago (1961–78), where he remained an active educator after his retirement.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.