- Reginald Punnett
name = Reginald Punnett
image_width = 150px
caption = Reginald Punnett
June 20 1875
January 3 1967
death_place = Bilbrook,
nationality = British
known_for = "
Journal of Genetics" Punnett square
Professor Reginald Crundall Punnett FRS (
June 20 1875– January 3 1967) was a British geneticist who co-founded, with William Bateson, the " Journal of Genetics" in 1910. Punnett is probably best remembered today as the creator of the Punnett square, a tool still used by biologists to predict the probabilityof possible genotypes of offspring. His "Mendelism" (1905) is sometimes said to have been the first textbook on genetics; it was probably the first popular sciencebook to introduce genetics to the public.
Life and work
Reginald Punnett was born in 1875 in the town of Tonbridge in Kent, England. While recovering from a childhood bout of appendicitis, Punnett became acquainted with Jardine's Naturalist's Library and developed an interest in natural history.
Gonville and Caius Collegeat the University of Cambridge, Punnett earned a degree in zoology in 1898, and a masters in 1902. Between these degrees he worked as a demonstrator and part-time lecturer at the University of St. Andrew's Natural History Department. However, by 1902 Punnett was back at Cambridge working in zoology, primarily the study of worms, specifically nemerteans. It was during this time that he and William Bateson began a research collaboration, which lasted several years. [Dates given in cite web | url = http://www.bookrags.com/biography/r-c-punnett-wob/ | title = World of Biology | year = 2005 | publisher = Thomson Gale]
When Punnett was an undergraduate, Gregor Mendel's work on inheritance was largely unknown and unappreciated by scientists. However, in 1900, Mendel's work was rediscovered by
Carl Correns, Erich Tschermak von Seyseneggand Hugo de Vries. William Bateson became a proponent of Mendelian genetics, and had Mendel's work translated into English. It was with Bateson that Reginald Punnett helped established the new scienceof genetics at Cambridge. He and Bateson co-discovered genetic linkagethrough experiments with chickens and pea plants.
In 1908, unable to explain how a dominant gene would not become fixed and ubiquitous in a population, Punnett introduced one of his problems to the mathematician
G. H. Hardy, with whom he played cricket. Hardy went on to formulate the Hardy-Weinberg principle, independently of the German Wilhelm Weinberg.
In 1910 Punnett became professor of biology at Cambridge, and then the first
Arthur Balfour Professor of Geneticswhen Bateson left in 1912. In the same year, Punnett was elected a Fellowof the Royal Society. He received the society's Darwin Medalin 1922.
During World War I, Punnett successfully applied his expertise to the problem of the early determination of gender in
chickens. Since only females were used for food, early identification of male chicks, who were destroyed, meant that more of the limited food supplies could be given to the females. Punnett's work in this area was summarized in "Heredity in Poultry" (1923).
Reginald Punnett retired in 1940, and died at the age of 91 in 1967 in Bilbrook,
*- A scanned copy of the second edition is [http://books.google.com/books?id=Uuk3AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA1&dq=punnett#PPP7,M1 here] .
* "Heredity in Poultry" (1923)
url = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4872161
last = Crew
first = F. A.
year = 1968
title = R. C. Punnett
volume = 58
last = Hutt
first = F. B.
year = 1970
title = Professor R. C. Punnett
periodical=World's Poultry Science Journal
url = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16809833
last = Vijayraghavan
first = K.
title=Punnett and duck genetics
periodical = Journal of Genetics
* [http://www.dnaftb.org/dnaftb/concept_5/con5bio.html A brief biographical sketch of Punnett]
* [http://www.nahste.ac.uk/isaar/GB_0237_NAHSTE_P1996.html A briefer biographical sketch of Punnett]
* [http://www.gen.cam.ac.uk/About/News/departmenthistory.htm A brief history of the University of Cambridge's Department of Genetics]
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