Stebbins, G. Ledyard

Stebbins, G. (George) Ledyard

(1906–  ) botanist; born in Lawrence, N.Y. He was an assistant in botany at Harvard (1929–31), and an instructor at Colgate (1931–35), before joining the University of California: Berkeley (1935–50). He used the plant extract colchicine to create polyploidy (the condition of having more than twice the number of chromosomes) in several species of grasses, and was the first biologist to produce a new species artificially and naturalize it (1944). He was a pioneer in applying modern ideas of evolution to botany, as expounded in his Variation and Evolution in Plants (1950). At the University of California: Davis (1950–73) he researched cytogenetics and parthenogenesis in plants. His creation of fertile hybrids made major contributions to both taxonomy and economic plant breeding.