Women’s History Month

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Women’s History Month

This March, in honor of Women’s History Month, PreventionGenetics would like to recognize some of the remarkable women who contributed to the field of genetics. These women, and many others, greatly impacted the field of genetics.

Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958) helped to discover the structure of DNA. Although she was not awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962 with James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins, Franklin is considered to have contributed critical research which led to the discovery of the now famous double helix.
Citation: "People and Discoveries: Rosalind Franklin." PBS. Public Broadcasting Service, n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

Barbara McClintock (1902-1992) discovered many of the mechanisms of genetic regulation we now consider fundamental. Some breakthroughs of hers are improvements in our understanding of chromosomal crossover which allows for greater genetic variation and mobile genetic elements. Her work was considered ahead of her time and not widely accepted until later in her lifetime.
Citation: The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Barbara McClintock." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 27 July 2011. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

Julia Bell (1879-1979) discovered some of the first links between disease and genetics by noticing how certain diseases occurred in families. She wrote a five volume book describing genetic disorders and is credited with the discovery of Fragile X syndrome.
Citation: King, Jesse, "Julia Bell (1879-1979)". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2012-12-27). ISSN: 1940-5030

Martha Chase (1927-2003) was part of the famous “blender experiment” which established DNA and not protein as the method of genetic transmission. This was a fundamental discovery for the field of genetics.
Citation: Lavietes, Stuart. "Martha Chase, 75, a Researcher Who Aided in DNA Experiment." The New York Times. The New York Times, 12 Aug. 2003. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

Mary Lyon (1925-2014) discovered that X chromosomes in females (who have two X chromosomes) randomly inactivate causing variable phenotypes.This is not the same for males who only have one X chromosome. X chromosome Inactivation (aka Lyonization) explains many genetic disorders and also how tortoiseshell cats get their spotted coats.
Citation: "Mary Lyon, Geneticist - Obituary." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 03 Feb. 2015. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

Ruth Sanger (1918-2001) co-wrote the definitive work on human blood types with her husband Robert Race. Blood types are genetic and understanding their differences made blood transfusions much safer. Sanger and Race also pioneered mapping of the X chromosome, which helped lead to the human genome project.
Citation: "The Robert Race and Ruth Sanger Papers." Wellcome Library. Wellcome Trust, n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

Here at PreventionGenetics, we have many women also contributing our work on a daily basis. From technicians, to our Client Services Team, to our Business & Billing teams, Genetic Counselors to our PhD Geneticists, we are proud of all of our remarkable employees. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn about some of these extraordinary women throughout the month of March.