“The Real Point is Control”: The Reception of Barbara McClintock's Controlling Elements

  title={“The Real Point is Control”: The Reception of Barbara McClintock's Controlling Elements},
  author={Nathaniel Comfort},
  journal={Journal of the History of Biology},
  • N. Comfort
  • Published 1999
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Journal of the History of Biology
In the standard narrative of her life, Barbara McClintock discovered genetic transposition in the 1940s but no one believed her. She was ignored until molecular biologists of the 1970s “rediscovered” transposition and vindicated her heretical discovery. New archival documents, as well as interviews and close reading of published papers, belie this narrative. Transposition was accepted immediately by both maize and bacterial geneticists. Maize geneticists confirmed it repeatedly in the early… 
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