Marcus Morton Rhoades

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Marcus Morton Rhoades (July 24, 1903 in Graham, Missouri – December 30, 1991) was an American cytogeneticist. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1927, a Master of Science degree in 1928 from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. degree in 1932 from Cornell University where he was a trainee of Rollins A. Emerson alongside future noble prize winners George Beadle and Barbara McClintock, and completed a thesis on the topic of cytoplasmic male sterility in maize.[1][2] After completing his doctoral studies, Marcus Rhoades's career spanned numerous institutions, first working as an Experimentalist in Plant Breeding at Cornell University 1932 to 1935, a Research Geneticist with the USDA in Ames, IA and later Arlington, VA 1935 to 1940, an Associate Professor and later full professor at Columbia University 1940 to 1948, a professor at UIUC 1948 to 1958, and the finally at Indiana University from 1948 until reaching maximum retirement age in 1974.[3][2]In 1946 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.[4]

Marcus Rhoades was active in theGenetics Society of America, serving as the Editor of Genetics from 1940 to 1948, and later at the Vice President and then President of the GSA [3].

His research on maize led to important discoveries for basic genetics and the applied science of plant breeding. He was one of the first cytogenecists to document the pre-meiotic pairing of homologous chromosomes in maize, otherwise referred as somatic pairing (Singh, 2003), and the first to document an instance of meiotic drive, a Mendelian inheritance caused by preferential segregation of certain versions of homologous chromosomes during meiosis. [5] Rhoades' also pioneered work in nuclear-cytoplasmic interactions, demonstrating that mutation of the nuclear gene iojap produced heritable mutations in the genome of chloroplasts which persisted after the nuclear mutation was segregated away.

In 1907, Herbert J. Webber started the Synapsis Club, a student/faculty organization at Cornell University, Prof.Rollins A. Emerson continued and encouraged his student to become members, including Rhoades.[6]

In the 1940s, he served as the doctoral advisor of geneticist Ruth Sager at Columbia University.[7]

Awards[edit]

1981 Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal - (Genetics Society of America) - Inaugural award, shared with Barbara McClintock.

References[edit]