Walter Stanborough Sutton (1877-1916)
Walter Sutton was born in Kansas City, and graduated from Kansas University. He was E. B. Wilson's graduate student in the Department of Zoology at Columbia University. In the spring of 1902, when he was only 25, Sutton deduced that chromosomes are the basis of heredity, and that the reduction of chromosomes in meiosis is directly related to Mendel's laws of inheritance.
The behavior of chromosomes and its importance in heredity was a "hot topic" at the turn of the century. Many scientists, including Sutton's supervisor, E. B. Wilson, were working on this problem. Theodor Boveri made the connection between chromosomes and heredity by doing his own observations and experiments. Sutton, working independently in Wilson's lab, came to the same conclusions. Wilson admitted later that when Sutton first explained his theory to him, he "did not at once fully comprehend his conception or realize its entire weight."
Sutton did his observations using grasshopper cells. His paper, in 1902, clearly showed that each chromosome is different, and meiosis reduces chromosome number in the gametes. Sutton's 1903 paper, The Chromosomes in Heredity, summarized and discussed the importance of his conclusions. The paper even more strongly drew the connection between Mendel's laws of heredity and chromosomes.
Wilson was very impressed with Sutton's abilities as an investigator. Unfortunately, Sutton never finished his doctorate. Sutton left research and entered medical school. He graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at New York, and became a surgeon. Sutton served in France during World War I, and distinguished himself in treatments of wounded soldiers. Sutton died following an operation for appendicitis. He was only 39.
Walter Sutton described the process of meiosis. He also showed that although chromosomes may look similar, they have specific hereditary qualities.
chromosomes and heredity, process of meiosis, mendel's laws of heredity, walter sutton, chromosome number, theodor boveri, physicians and surgeons,gametes,
- ID: 16247
- Source: DNALC.DNAFTB
16238. Sex cells have one set of chromosomes; body cells have two.
DNAFTB Animation 8: Theodor Boveri presents chromosomes' role in development.
16246. Biography 8: Theodor Boveri (1862-1915)
Theodor Boveri described the process of meiosis. He also showed that although chromosomes may look similar, they have specific hereditary qualities.
16209. Genes are real things.
DNAFTB Animation 6: Hugo de Vries, Carl Correns, and Erich von Tschermak-Seysenegg explain the laws of heredity, and Theodor Schwann introduces cellular microscope discoveries.
16250. Specialized chromosomes determine sex.
DNAFTB Animation 9: Nettie Stevens and Edmund Wilson explain how biological sex is determined by special chromosomes.
16241. Gallery 8: Theodor Boveri portrait
Signed portrait of Theodor Boveri
16242. Gallery 8: Theodor Boveri portrait 2
Portrait of Theodor Boveri
16259. Biography 9: Nettie Maria Stevens (1861-1912)
Nettie Maria Stevens independently developed the idea of sex determination by chromosomes.
16237. Concept 8: Sex cells have one set of chromosomes; body cells have two.
Offspring arise from the union of specialized sex cells â a female egg and a male sperm.
16280. Genes get shuffled when chromosomes exchange pieces.
DNAFTB Animation 11: Alfred Sturtevant describes gene mapping.
15607. Haplotype blocks (Haploblocks)
Each chromosome can be broken up into haplotype blocks or "haploblocks" that are rearranged during meiosis.