Wieschaus, Eric Francis

Wieschaus, Eric Francis,

1947–, American biologist and geneticist, b. South Bend, Ind., Ph.D. Yale 1974. He was a researcher at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, from 1978 to 1981, when he joined the faculty at Princeton. Wieschaus shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Christiane Nüsslein-VolhardNüsslein-Volhard, Christiane,
1942–, German biologist and geneticist, Ph.D. Univ. of Tübingen, 1973. Since 1985 she has been director of the genetics division of the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany.
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 and Edward B. LewisLewis, Edward B.,
1918–2004, American geneticist, b. Wilkes-Barre, Pa., grad. California Institute of Technology (Ph.D. 1942). After serving as a meteorologist with the U.S.
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 for their discoveries concerning the genetic control of early embryonic development. Using the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as their experimental system, Wieschaus and Nüsslein-Volhard identified and classified a group of genes that play a key role in determining the overall body plan as well as the formation of body segments. Their work provided the foundation for Lewis to elucidate how individual segments develop into specific organs; the combined work of the three offered important new insights into the process of evolution and laid the groundwork for understanding congenital defects in humans.
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