Barbara W. Heavers and Judith K. Wood
- 345 B.P.
- Plato's Theory of Forms said all life forms represent an imperfect replica
of a perfect heavenly model.
- G. L. Buffon's Histoire Naturelle implied or overtly assumed organic evolution.
- T. R. Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population, as It Affects
the Future Improvement of Society rejected the idea that in animals some of
the offspring will possess the desirable qualities of the parents in a greater
- Erasmus Darwin's Zoonomia attempted to explain organic life according to
- Jean-Baptiste Lamarck's Philosophie Zoologique presented a comprehensive
theory of transformism. Charles Darwin was born.
- First volume of Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology interprets earth
history as a process of gradual change.
- Darwin leaves England on H.M.S. Beagle, embarking on a five-year voyage
- Asa Gray published Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States and
founded systematic botany in the U.S. He later became Darwin's chief advocate
in the U.S.
- Alfred R. Wallace proposed in a letter to C. Darwin a theory of evolution
by means of natural selection based on his work in Indonesia. The two agreed
to present their papers on the same occasion to the Linnean Society.
- Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species; or, The Preservation
of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
- Thomas Henry Huxley's Man's Place in Nature stressed the similarities between
humans and apes.
- Lyell's Antiquity of Man popularized the belief that the human race is
much older than allowed by the biblical time scale.
- Ernst Haeckel's Generelle Morphologie advocated a radically materialist
interpretation of progressive evolution. Gregor Mendel published the results
of his investigations of the inheritance of "factors" in pea plants.
- Charles Darwin published The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to
- Darwin died and was buried in Westminster Abbey next to Sir Isaac Newton.
- August Weismann's The Germ Plasm stressed the role of "hard" heredity and
precipitated a debate on Lamarckism.
- Correns, Tschermak and De Vries rediscovered Gregor Mendel's laws of heredity.
Hugo De Vries went on to advocate evolution by sudden "mutations."
- W. Sutton pointed out the interrelationships between cytology and Mendelism,
closing the gap between cell morphology and heredity.
- T. H. Morgan, the father of Drosophila genetics, discovered sex-linked
- G. H. Hardy and W. Weinberg recognized that evolutionary change is not
automatic, that it occurs only when something disturbs the genetic equilibrium.
- Alfred Wegener, a geophysicist proposed the theory of continental drift
and an earlier supercontinent called Pangaea, which split to form the current
- H. J. Muller discovered that exposure to x-rays greatly increased mutation
- Fred Griffith proposed that some unknown "principle" had transformed the
harmless R strain of Diplococcus to the virulent S strain.
- Ronald Aylmer Fisher's Genetical Theory of Natural Selection published.
- J. B. S. Haldane's The Causes of Evolution suggested that altruistic acts
toward close relatives might favor the survival and spread of those of the
altruist's genes that are shared by relatives.
- T. Dobzhansky, an architect of the evolutionary synthesis, published Genetics
and Origin of Species, which combined the best elements of both genetics and
- Ernst Mayr, another architect of the evolutionary synthesis, published
Systematics and the Origin of Species .
- Julian Huxley's Evolution: The Modern Synthesis and George Gaylord Simpson's
Tempo and Mode in Evolution consolidated the synthesis of Darwinism and genetics.
- O. Avery, M. McCarty, and C. MacLeod determined that DNA was the substance
that changed hereditary patterns in bacteria and must be the heredity material.
- Barbara McClintock published her hypothesis of transposable elements to
explain color variations in corn.
- J. D. Watson and F. H. C. Crick published the structure for DNA in Nature.
- H.D. Kettlewell studied the peppered moth population in England and observed
that light-colored moths survived best on trees with healthy lichens and dark-colored
moths on lichens darkened by industrial pollution. The result was a difference
in the allelic frequencies of dark and light moths in polluted and clean woods.
- J. L. Hubby and R. C. Lewontin (Genetics 54:577-594) studied enzyme genes
in natural populations using the new method of electrophoresis.
- Jacob, Lwoff, and Monod shared the Nobel Prize for their discoveries concerning
the genetics of prokaryotes and the Operon theory.
- J. D. Watson published The Double Helix , a history of the discovery of
the structure of DNA.
- F. J. Ayala in studies with Drosophila demonstrated that populations with
variation adapted twice as fast as uniform populations.
- Kimura's Theoretical Aspects of Population Genetics placed him in the neutralist
school along with Lewontin on interpretations of polymorphism.
- Edward O. Wilson's Sociobiology precipitated a controversy over the use
of natural selection to explain human behavior.
- In Ontogeny and Phylogeny, Stephen J. Gould, a co-developer of the theory
of punctuated equilibrium, says the fossil record does not support gradualism.
The theory provides an explanation of the gaps existing in the fossil record.
- T. Dobzhansky's Evolution provides a longer, more technical but still conventional,
up-to-date treatment of the synthetic theory.
- Fredrich Sanger produced the first complete sequence of a genome in a bacteriophage.
- Kary Mullis invented the PCR (polymerase chain reaction), which allows
DNA to be synthesized for genetic engineering, forensics, and DNA sequencing.
- The human genome project was begun.
The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
CN 5281, Princeton NJ 08543-5281