Darlington and the 'invention' of the chromosome

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Cyril Dean Darlington (1903-1981) has been forgotten by historians, but was in his day, the leading cytologist of the premolecular era. Of humble and inconspicuous beginnings, Darlington started his career as an unpaid volunteer worker under the aging William Bateson. Working in almost total isolation and with no scientific guidance, he boldly deduced the laws of chromosome behaviour, making cytology relevant once again both to genetics and to evolutionary theory. This process did not proceed smoothly, for both Darlington's method, and cross-disciplinary approach made the reception of his novel ideas difficult. This article examines Darlington's contribution to the premolecular understanding of Life, and the reasons why it was so difficult to accept.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-74
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


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