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Nettie Stevens
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Scientist
    (July 7, 1861-May 4, 1912)
    Born in Cavendish, Vermont
    Geneticist
    Discovered the role played by X and Y chromosomes in determining gender (1905)
    She was finally offered a position she had long sought, as a research professor at Bryn Mawr, shortly before her death, but was unable to accept due to her poor health.
    Her discovery was often erroneously credited to Thomas Hunt Morgan, her thesis advisor and mentor.
    In her obituary, Morgan wrote that her experiments had proven Clarence McClung's hypothesis that the X chromosome determined gender; actually, she had shown that the Y chromosome was responsible.
    She completed a four-year course at Westfield State University in two years, graduating at the top of her class.
    She won a $1,000 prize for best scientific paper written by a woman (1905).
    Her discovery was important evidence for both Mendelian genetics and the chromosomal theory of inheritance, as it was the first time differences in chromosomes were linked to observable differences in physical attributes.

Credit: C. Fishel


 
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