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James F. Crow (1916–2012) A Remarkable Geneticist, a Remarkable Man

Authors
Journal
Genetics
0016-6731
Publisher
The Genetics Society of America
Publication Date
Volume
190
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1534/genetics.112.138610
Keywords
  • Obituary
Disciplines
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Medicine

Abstract

genet138610 1149..1150 OBITUARY In Memoriam James F. Crow (1916–2012) A Remarkable Geneticist, a Remarkable Man JAMES F. Crow, professor emeritus of genetics, died peace-fully in his sleep of congestive heart failure in Madison, Wisconsin, on January 4, 2012, 2 weeks before his 96th birthday. A leading figure in 20th century genetics whose career spanned 72 years, Crow was renowned as teacher, mentor, colleague, research scientist, textbook author, aca- demic administrator, scientific leader, genetics historian, ed- itor, and community supporter. He was born in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, 2 years before his family moved to Wichita, Kansas, where he attended public school. He received a bach- elor of science degree from Friends University in Wichita (1937) and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin (1941). For 7 years, he was on the faculty of Dartmouth College and then moved to the University of Wisconsin at Madison where he spent the rest of his career. His wife of 60 years, Ann Crockett Crow, died in 2001, and he leaves three surviving children, six grandchildren, and two great- grandchildren. “Gladly would he learn,” writes long-time colleague Oli- ver Smithies quoting Chaucer, “and gladly teach.” Crow’s undergraduate genetics course, Genetics 560, was legend- ary, and he mentored many graduate students and postdoc- toral fellows who went on to make successful careers of their own. His textbook Genetics Notes was published in eight editions, and his Introduction to Population Genetics Theory, written with Motoo Kimura, continues to be a classic refer- ence text. “He spoke and wrote in a straightforward and folksy voice,” remembers Joe Felsenstein, a former under- graduate in his laboratory. Crow published more than 250 papers dealing with diverse subjects such as reproductive isolation, hybrid vigor, insecticide resistance, effects of in- breeding, effective population size, opportunity for selec- tion, fundamental theorem of natural selection, mutation rates, radiation effec

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