Monday, April 25, 2016, at 4:00 p.m. in Chemistry 122 (800 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington)
Mendel, Muller, Morgan, Mom, and me: An ever-expanding voyage of discovery
H. J. Muller invented novel ways to map genes on chromosomes by looking at genes and nearest neighbors. His research collaboration with Thomas Hunt Morgan at Columbia University, using fruit flies, proved that genes reside in specific homes on chromosomes and that Mendelian principles govern inheritance.
My mother was also a biologist working with fruit flies at Columbia.
Like my mom, Morgan, Muller, and Mendel—I became a Gene Hunter. Starting in 1979, I began my voyage to Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela, home to the world’s largest family with Huntington's disease to look for the HD gene.
In 1983, against all odds, we discovered a DNA marker which gives the neighborhood of the HD gene. We then launched an international collaboration of more than 100 scientists to find the HD gene itself. It took a decade of work. In 1993, we found the HD gene.
As a Cure Hunter, I continue our quest—to find treatments and cures for Huntington's disease and related brain bandits.
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