Bateson, William

Bateson, William
born Aug. 8, 1861, Whitby, Yorkshire, Eng.
died Feb. 8, 1926, London

British biologist.

In 1900, while studying inheritance of traits, he was drawn to the research of Gregor Mendel, which explained perfectly the results of his own plant experiments. He was the first to translate Mendel's major work into English. With Reginald Crundall Punnett, he published the results of a series of breeding experiments that not only extended Mendel's principles to animals but also showed that, contrary to Mendel, certain features were consistently inherited together, a phenomenon that came to be termed linkage (see linkage group). In 1908 he became Britain's first professor of genetics, and in 1909 he introduced the term genetics. He opposed Thomas Hunt Morgan's theory of chromosomes. Gregory Bateson was his son. See also Carl Erich Correns; Hugo de Vries; Erich Tschermak von Seysenegg.

William Bateson, drawing by Sir William Rothenstein, 1917; in the National Portrait Gallery, London

By courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London

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▪ British biologist
born August 8, 1861, Whitby, Yorkshire, England
died February 8, 1926, London

      biologist who founded and named the science of genetics and whose experiments provided evidence basic to the modern understanding of heredity. A dedicated evolutionist, he cited embryo studies to support his contention in 1885 that chordates evolved from primitive echinoderms, a view now widely accepted. In 1894 he published his conclusion (Materials for the Study of Variation) that evolution could not occur through a continuous variation of species, since distinct features often appeared or disappeared suddenly in plants and animals. Realizing that discontinuous variation could be understood only after something was known about the inheritance of traits, Bateson began work on the experimental breeding of plants and animals.

      In 1900, he discovered an article, “Experiments with Plant Hybrids,” written by Gregor Mendel (Mendel, Gregor), an Austrian monk, 34 years earlier. The paper, found in the same year by Hugo de Vries, Carl Correns, and Erich Tschermak von Seysenegg, dealt with the appearance of certain features in successive generations of garden peas. Bateson noted that his breeding results were explained perfectly by Mendel's paper and that the monk had succinctly described the transmission of elements governing heritable traits in his plants.

      Bateson translated Mendel's paper into English and during the next 10 years became Mendel's champion in England, corroborating his principles experimentally. He published, with Reginald Punnett (Punnett, Reginald Crundall), the results of a series of breeding experiments (1905–08) that not only extended Mendel's principles to animals (poultry) but showed also that certain features were consistently inherited together, apparently counter to Mendel's findings. This phenomenon, which came to be termed linkage (linkage group), is now known to be the result of the occurrence of genes located in close proximity on the same chromosome. Bateson's experiments also demonstrated a dependence of certain characters on two or more genes. Unfortunately, he misinterpreted his results, refusing to accept the interpretation of linkage advanced by the geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan. In fact, he opposed Morgan's entire chromosome theory, advocating his own vibratory theory of inheritance, founded on laws of force and motion, a concept that found little acceptance among other scientists.

      Bateson became, at the University of Cambridge, the first British professor of genetics (1908). He left this chair in 1910 to spend the rest of his life directing the John Innes Horticultural Institution at Merton, South London (later moved to Norwich), transforming it into a centre for genetic research. His books include Mendel's Principles of Heredity (1902, 2nd edition published in 1909) and Problems of Genetics (1913).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Bateson , William — (1861–1926) British geneticist Born in the coastal town of Whitby in northeast England, Bateson graduated in natural sciences from Cambridge University in 1883, having specialized in zoology. He then traveled to America, where he studied the… …   Scientists

  • Bateson, William — ► (1861 1926) Biólogo británico. Descubrió el mecanismo de la herencia, pero al ser rehabilitados los trabajos de Mendel, hacia el año 1890, dio prioridad al sabio agustino. * * * (8 ago. 1861, Whitby, Yorkshire, Inglaterra–8 feb 1926, Londres).… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Bateson,William — Bate·son (bātʹsən), William. 1861 1926. British biologist who was one of the founders of the science of genetics. He experimentally proved Gregor Mendel s theories on heredity and published the first English translation of Mendel s work in 1900.… …   Universalium

  • Bateson — Bateson, William …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • William Bateson — William Bateson. William Bateson (* 8. August 1861 in Whitby; † 8. Februar 1926 in Merton) war ein britischer Genetiker. Er prägte 1906 den Begriff Genetik. Der Biologe, Anthropologe und Naturphilosoph Gregory Bateson war sein Sohn …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • BATESON (W.) — BATESON WILLIAM (1861 1926) Zoologiste et généticien anglais. Lorsqu’en 1900 Bateson prend connaissance des lois de Mendel, il est biologiste à Cambridge et ses Materials for the Study of Variation Treated with Especial Regards to Discontinuity… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • William Bateson — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bateson. William Bateson William Bateson Naissance 8 août 1861 Whitby ( …   Wikipédia en Français

  • William — /wil yeuhm/, n. 1. a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter W. 2. a male given name: from Germanic words meaning will and helmet. * * * (as used in expressions) Huddie William Ledbetter Aberhart William George William… …   Universalium

  • William — (as used in expressions) William Alexander Abbott Aberhart, William George William Russell Amis, Sir Kingsley (William) Ashley, William Henry Ashton, Sir Frederick (William Mallandaine) Barkley, Alben W(illiam) Bartram, William William Allen… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • William Bateson — Nacimiento 8 de agosto de 1861 Whitby Fallecimiento 8 de febrero de 1926 …   Wikipedia Español

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