Barton Childs

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Barton Childs (February 29, 1916 – February 18, 2010)[1] was an American pediatrician and geneticist. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and graduated from Williams College in 1938. In 1942, he received his M.D. from Johns Hopkins University. Following military service in World War II, he returned to Johns Hopkins for a residency in pediatrics. After a fellowship at Children’s Hospital in Boston, he returned to Johns Hopkins University in 1949, where he remained until his retirement in 1981.[2] He remained a professor emeritus in the Department of Pediatrics at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine until his death.

Childs studied the genetics of adrenal hyperplasia, Crigler-Najjar syndrome, and propionic acidemia. He is known for his collaboration with William H. Zinkham, which demonstrated that Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency is an X-linked recessive genetic disease. He is best known for a collaboration with Ronald Davidson and Harold Nitowsky, which demonstrated random inactivation of one of the two X-chromosomes in mammalian female cells, a mechanism of dosage compensation.[3]

Childs was the author of many editorial pieces on genetic counseling, genetic screening, and behavioral genetics. He was a coauthor of The Metabolic and Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease, published in four volumes. In his book Genetic Medicine: A Logic of Disease, published in 1999, he argues that in the future, all medicine, or medical theory, must be based on the individuality of gene-environment interaction.[2]

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ Johns Hopkins (includes photos) Archived May 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b Maestrejuan, Andrea (2001-12-13). "Barton Childs interview". Oral History of Human Genetics Project. Archived from the original on 2010-07-06.
  3. ^ Kirkham HN (Mar 1974). "The William Allan Memorial Award. Presented to Barton Childs at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics". American Journal of Human Genetics. 26 (2): 119. PMC 1762676. PMID 4595826.