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Election Year: 1976
Scientific Discipline: Cellular and Developmental Biology
Membership Type: Member
Francis Ruddle was a leader in the field of human genetics. Using a man-mouse hybrid model Ruddle and his team were able to show that certain regulatory genes are located on specific chromosomes and those regulatory genes are responsible for the synthesis of enzymes. He also pioneered applications of human gene activation for the purpose of gene mapping. Ruddle was the first to introduce genetic material from one species to another; he coined the term “transgenic” to describe this process. In the 1960s his began to lay the groundwork for the Human Genome Project, which sequenced the entire human genome, and was completed in 2003.
Ruddle earned his B.A. from Wayne State University in 1953 and took a position as a research associate at the Child Research Center of Detroit, MI until 1956. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 1960 and was a postdoctoral fellow in the department of biochemistry at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. In 1961 he became a professor at Yale University, becoming Sterling professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology.