Calvin Blackman Bridges (1889-1938)

Calvin Bridges was born in Schuyler Falls, New York. He was orphaned at an early age, and raised by his grandparents. In 1909, after attending one of the few courses taught by Thomas Hunt Morgan, Bridges joined Morgan's lab at Columbia to do research in the new field of genetics. A freshman at the time, Bridges was given the lowly job of washing out the fly bottles. As legend has it, Bridges found the first Drosophila mutant, the white-eyed fly, just as he was about to wash out one of the bottles. According to his lab mate, Alfred Sturtevant, Bridges had the best "eyes" in the lab for finding new Drosophila mutants and the most skill and patience for building new strains for testing. Many of these Drosophila strains are still in use today.

Bridges was also very inventive. He developed a cheaper fly-food mix to replace bananas. He designed the binocular microscope for examining flies, and he also designed the temperature-regulated incubators to grow the flies in.

Some of Bridges' scientific credits include the theory of chromosomal non-disjunction (non-segregation of paired chromosomes), setting up the nomenclature system for naming fly mutants and providing most of the data correlating Drosophila genes with banding patterns in salivary chromosomes.

In 1928, Bridges moved with Morgan to the California Institute of Technology, though he retained his position as research associate at Columbia. In a biography, Thomas Hunt Morgan wrote of Bridges that "he was simple and unaffected and always helpful to anyone who came to him for advice." In 1938, Bridges died of heart failure due to complications from a heart valve infection.

Calvin Bridges was a student of Thomas Hunt Morgan. Bridges advanced the theory of chromosomal non-disjunction, and did a lot of work on chromosomal banding patterns.

heart valve infection, drosophila genes, drosophila mutants, thomas hunt morgan, calvin bridges, nomenclature system, fly food, binocular microscope, white eyed fly, chromosomes, segregation, temperature-regualted incubators, non-disjunction, salivary chromosomes

  • ID: 16298
  • Source: DNALC.DNAFTB

Related Content

16277. Biography 10: Thomas Hunt Morgan (1866-1945)

Thomas Hunt Morgan was one of the first true geneticists.

  • ID: 16277
  • Source: DNAFTB

16297. Biography 11: Alfred Henry Sturtevant (1891-1970)

Alfred Sturtevant was a student of Thomas Hunt Morgan. Sturtevant provided proof of genetic linkage.

  • ID: 16297
  • Source: DNAFTB

16263. Chromosomes carry genes.

DNAFTB Animation 10:Thomas Hunt Morgan describes his discoveries using fruit flies.

  • ID: 16263
  • Source: DNALC.DNAFTB

16262. Concept 10: Chromosomes carry genes.

Fruit flies help to reveal that chromosomes carry genes.

  • ID: 16262
  • Source: DNAFTB

16993. New York Stories: Exploring Mutant Organisms - The Fly Room

New York high school students set out to find Thomas Hunt Morgan's "Fly Room" at Columbia University, where seminal genetics research took place in the early 20th century.

  • ID: 16993
  • Source: DNALC

1719. Fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster)

The fruit fly is easy to maintain, has large numbers of offspring, and grows quickly. The fruit fly shares with humans a number of so-called “master,” or homeotic, genes.

  • ID: 1719
  • Source: G2C

16291. Gallery 11: Calvin Bridges, 1935

Calvin Bridges and Drosophila map pillar.

  • ID: 16291
  • Source: DNAFTB

16273. Gallery 10: Thomas Hunt Morgan, 1945

Thomas Hunt Morgan with microscope.

  • ID: 16273
  • Source: DNAFTB

16299. Genes get shuffled when chromosomes exchange pieces.

DNAFTB Problem 11: Determine gene linkage in fruit flies.

  • ID: 16299
  • Source: DNALC.DNAFTB

16271. Gallery 10: Thomas Hunt Morgan at the microscope

Morgan at microscope.

  • ID: 16271
  • Source: DNAFTB