Series: Women who changed the world - Barbara McClintock

"If you know you are on the right track, if you have this inner knowledge, then nobody can turn you off... no matter what they say." - Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock jumped high with her research in maize. She took incredible contentment in science from childhood since her father was a physician. She showed great independence in her work, that she expressed throughout the rest of her life.


She specialized in cytology, genetics, zoology and earned a PhD in 1927. It was during her graduate days, she found her work on maize which turned her life mission. She completely dedicated her life to her research on finding the chromosomal analysis in maize. All that she used was a microscope and staining techniques that enabled her to analyze, observe, and depict individual corn chromosomes. Even though her work was ahead of time, her fellow scientists considered her research too radical. But she continued her research work. It was in the late 1960s when biologists determined that DNA was the genetic material. Barbara McClintock received her deserved recognition.


In the year 1983, Barbara McClintock was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery of mobile genetic elements which was unshared. She always knew the importance of what she had achieved and set an example for other women. She was career-focused women and devoted her life for research and also became the first female president of the Genetics Society of America. There is also an award dedicated to her: The McClintock Prize for Plant Genetics and Genome Studies.


In the year 1992, McClintock died of natural cause at the age of 90. She is indeed seen as a role model for many women. Appreciation towards her valuable contributions to the field has always been noted. Barbara McClintock is rightly esteemed as one of the pioneers of modern genetics and also for her passionate work towards her subject. A credible dedication as a women scientist. Let's learn from her.


With thanks - this article was written by Vrinda Nair.

Photo credit - https://www.britannica.com/biography/Barbara-McClintock

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