Philip Sheppard

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Philip Sheppard
Born(1921-07-27)27 July 1921
Died(1976-10-17)17 October 1976 (age 55)
OccupationProfessor of Genetics
Known forPopulation genetics of lepidoptera, and work on Rh disease
Spouse(s)Patricia Beatrice Lee (married 1948–1976)
Children3 sons

Professor Philip MacDonald Sheppard, F.R.S. (27 July 1921 – 17 October 1976) was a British geneticist and lepidopterist. He made advances in ecological and population genetics in lepidopterans, pulmonate land snails and humans. In medical genetics, he worked with Sir Cyril Clarke on Rh disease.

He was born on 27 July 1921 in Marlborough, Wiltshire, England and attended Marlborough College from 1935 to 1939.

Cyril Clarke answered an advert in an insect magazine for swallowtail butterfly pupa that had been placed by Sheppard. They met and began working together in their common interest of lepidoptery. They also worked on Rh disease.

In 1961 Sheppard started a colony of scarlet tiger moths by the Wirral Way, West Kirby, Merseyside, which were rediscovered in 1988 by Cyril Clarke, who continued to observe them in his retirement to study changes in the moth population.

Sheppard married Patricia Beatrice Lee in 1948. They had three sons. He died of acute leukemia on 17 October 1976.


  • Sheppard P.M. 1958. Natural Selection and Heredity. London: Hutchinson. last ed 1975.
  • Dictionary of Scientific Biography vol 17, supplement 2 pp 814–816 by J.R.G. Turner.
  • Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 1977 vol 23 pp 465–500, plate, by Sir Cyril Clarke.
  • Biography and list of papers