PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
A Publication of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.
1968 Volume Fourteen Number One
The Evening Primrose Path1
is not clear to me just why the phrase "primrose path" is considered to connote
a life of worldly or sensual pleasures, but if this is true, then certainly
one should expect even greater pleasures of these kinds in pursuit of prim-roses
that flower in the evening. Having spent close to thirty years in this pursuit,
I shall now ask you to join inc as we shall, in the words of Shakespeare's
Macbeth, "go the primrose path to the everlasting bonfire."
any nonbotanists may be in the audience, I should mention that the genus of
evening primroses is Oenothera, a group that is only distantly related and
not even in the same plant family with the true primroses, genus Primula.
But there are a number of reasons why Oenothera rather than Primula has attracted
the attention of so many botanists. Why then have we been concerned more with
the "evening primroses" than with the primroses that flower during the day?
Parenthetically, I should mention that at least a few of the Oenotheras, or
so-called "evening prim-roses," actually are day-flowering like their nonrelatives,
the Primulas, but the habits of these nonconformists really have not been
of any major concern to us.
genus Oenothera gained its modern fame at the turn of the century when the
Dutch botanist, Hugo de Vries published his monumental studies on "The Mutation
Theory." De Vries was an experimental scientist and felt that the evolutionary
theories proposed by Darwin ought to be amenable to experimental analysis.
With this in mind he searched the countryside near Amsterdam for plants that
might be useful for such studies, and in 1.886 he found an abandoned potato
field near Hilversum, Holland, that was essentially a pure stand of Lamarck's
evening prim-rose, Oenothera lamarckiana, This was not a native species, for,
indeed, all Oenotheras have apparently come from the Americas. Oenothera lamarckiana
was probably native to northwestern United States, but its actual origin re-mains
unresolved. It was, and perhaps to some extent still is, grown as a garden
plant in many parts of the world. Its principal fault in gardens, including
mine, is that it often grows and reproduces only too efficiently and tends
to become weedy.
Vries noted that most of the thousands of plants
1Address of the President of the Pacific
Division, American Association for the Advancement of Science, presented June
20, 1967 at Los Angeles, California.
Hilversum were identical, but a few showed some differences. When he grew
the aberrant plants in his gar-den at Amsterdam, the "different plants" bred
true as did the more common type. But when he grew thousands of progeny from
selfed seeds of the common type of O. lamarckiana, a few aberrants showed
up in each generation, and when self-pollinated, these gave rise to essentially
a uniform progeny. In other words, spontaneous changes in heredity occurred.
De Vries termed such changes, mutations, and we have continued the use of
this term for spontaneous hereditary changes in all organisms. Between 1888
and 1899 de Vries grew seven generations including approximately 50,000 plants.
From these over eight hundred mutations were recorded or about 1.6 per cent
of the total. Seven different mutants were included among these eight hundred
individuals. One of these, which de Vries called "gigas," occurred only once,
whereas the others occurred more than once and among several to many individuals
in a single generation. Mutant oblonga, for example, occurred in five of the
seven generations for a total of 350 individuals. Mutant nanella occurred
in all seven generations and in a total of 158 individuals. De Vries continued
this work and his interest in the phenomenon of mutation for the remainder
of his life. He died in 1935. Mutations were soon to be recorded for other
organisms, and with the beginnings of Drosophila genetics by Morgan and his
students in 1910, the phenomenon of mutation became an established fact.
about this time the primrose path began to show its true and devious nature.
It has proved not as straight a path as de Vries at first imagined, and he
was at first reluctant to recognize its detours. As one of the principal rediscoverers
of Mendel's Laws, de Vries knew that an F1 generation obtained by crossing
two species or varieties should be uniform and that segregations into multiple
classes should not be expected until the Ft generation produced its progeny.
In Oenothera the reverse was true. When he crossed two species, he obtained
two or more kinds of F1 progeny, and when these were selfed, each of them
in 1914, Renner in Germany and Bartlett in this country independently began
to see what has proved to be the correct interpretation. They found that Oenothera
lamarckiana and many of the other species they studied were, indeed, not pure
species but hybrids which were capable of breeding true to type, of never,
or hardly ever, segregating homozygous forms which might represent the pure
species from which they presumably had been
A satisfactory explanation of just how such subversive non-Mendelian behavior
is possible required many years for its solution, and some problems remain
to this day. Renner showed that lethal factors, later to be designated as
balanced lethals, accounted for the nonsurvival of the homozygous segregates,
but how a single pair of balanced lethals could control the segregation of
all of the genes on seven pairs of chromosomes was left unresolved until Cleland
began his cytological studies in the 1920's. An earlier ingenious guess was
that one pair of chromosomes contained all of the genes by which the various
species differed, and the other six pairs of chromosomes bore genes common
to the genus. Cleland's discovery that the chromosomes often formed groupings
much larger than pairs and that the number of chromosomes in these groupings
were essentially consistent for each species provided a mechanism for the
regular segregation of multichromosomal linkage groups and the effective operation
of the balanced lethals. Work on another and unrelated genus, Datura, by John
Belling provided a unifying principle to explain the formation of rings of
chromosomes in Oenothera during the first meiotic prophase. Cleland working
with Blakeslee, Emerson with Sturtevant, and still others in Europe working
independently and at about the same time, were able to show that Belling's
segmental inter-change hypothesis was, indeed, the explanation for the attachments
of nonhomologous chromosomes forming rings in Oenothera.
now know that only a few of the types de Vries described as mutations are
mutations in the modern sense. His mutant "gigas" proved to be a tetraploid;
other of his changed forms were later proved to be trisomics, and some were
homozygous segregations that became viable follow- ing the crossing-over of
lethals that ordinarily blocked their survival. Although de Vries did discover
some true mutations in his later studies, it is probably fair to state that
he established one of the major principles of modern genetic biology upon
evidence that failed to illustrate this principle. This detour of the primrose
path became a major turnpike.
of Botany, Washington State University
L. Stern, Temporary Editor
Park, Maryland 20740
P. Banks, Cornell University
H. Boke, University of Oklahoma
S. Greenfield, Rutgers University
L. Stern, Uoiver city of Maryland
Steiner, University of Michigan
1968 Volume Fourteen
of Address: Notify the Treasurer of the Botanical Society
America, Inc., Dr. Theodore Delevoryas, Department of Biology,
University, New Haven, Connecticut
for libraries and persons not members of the Bo-
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300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106.
I began my own work with Oenothera late in the 1930's, the primrose path had
already been well trod. It was by no means a straight path but one with many
blind branches, some well trod, others barely perceptible. One of these by-ways
that had been explored to some extent in Europe but only very little here
involves subgenera other than the one upon which practically all of the classic
work of de Vries, Renner, Cleland, etc., had been based. Oenothera lamarckiana,
O. biennis, and related species are included in the subgenus Oenothera. Depending
upon whose classification one follows, there are eight to four-teen other
subgenera. The largest of these, the subgenus Raimannia, is the one with which
my work began. In my initial studies I examined 14 of the 19 species recognized
by Dr. Munz as belonging to the subgenus Raimannia. Their cytogenetic behavior
conformed in general with what had already been found for subgenus Oenothera.
A principal difference was the diversity of cytological behavior that I found
for different races of a single species. Where-as the number of chromosomes
in a ring was found essentially consistent for species of subgenus Oenothera,
some of the species of Raivumnia ran the gamut from having all 14 chromosomes
in a single ring to having all as pairs.
of two of the species I studied showed another interesting phenomenon, that
of self-incompatibility. At the time this seemed to be just another of the
diversionary trails off the major primrose pathway, but it now appears to
have important connections back to the major road of evening primrose phenomena
and, indeed, shows promises of more general application to the entire field
of generics. It is the area that now commands most of my attention and its
description will complete my presentation this evening.
are aware, I am sure, that most of the flowering plants have both sexes in
a single individual plant and that most of these individual plants are capable
of setting seed from their own pollen. Exceptions to this rule include several
types of self-incompatibility. In the late 1930's Dr. Sterling Emerson showed
that Oenothera organensis, an "offbeat" species native to the Organ Mountains
of New Mexico and what are now part of the White Sands Proving Grounds, has
a well-developed genetic system for a simple type of self-incompatibility.
I found basically the same system in O. rhombipetala. My earlier studies were
based largely upon rhombipetala, but the perennial habit of Emerson's organensis
and the ease of continuing its clones by means of cuttings have led me to
do much of my subsequent work with clones that Dr. Emerson had established.
rhontbipetala produces many flowers on each stalk and several are in bloom
each day. Flowers are produced singly in O. organensis, but owing to the ease
plants of the same clone can be produced by vegetative propagation, a large
number of flowers of identical genotype can readily be obtained. The individual
flower is relatively large and, therefore, easily manipulated. In most of
our work styles are excised from unopened buds and placed on moist filter
paper in large petri dishes. After varied procedures the stigmas are pollinated.
What happens next can be illustrated by using color symbols to distinguish
the three clones with which we are working. We shall assume that the °green"
clone produces green and yellow pollen, the "orange" clone, red and yellow
pollen, and the "purple" clone, red and blue pollen. Neither of the pollen
grains produced by the "green" clone will grow tubes into the stigma and styles
of this clone, but both the blue and red types of grains, and, in-deed, any
other than those genetically like the grains produced by the "green" plant,
grow readily into the "green" stigmas. Similarly, the "orange" stigma inhibits
growth of yellow and red pollen, and the "purple" stigma, by the same type
of mechanism, inhibits red and blue grains. Actually we designate these alleles,
not by colors but by an S number, assigning two numbers to each diploid plant
and especially its stigmas and styles, one number to each type of haploid
pollen grain. This scheme is illustrated in Figure 1. As shown, the pollen
produced by a plant will
function on the stigmas and styles of the same plant. The S3 grains, for example,
will not grow into styles of the S;S+ or S: S:;. plant but do grow into the
S27S23 styles; S4 grains grow into both S37S28 and S3S33 styles. Pollen grains
will grow only into styles lacking the S allele contained in the pollen grain.
genetic phenomena have been understood since the time of East and Mangelsdorf's
work in the 1920's, but their physiological and biochemical bases are only
now being explored. In my own work I wished first to locate as closely as
possible the sites in the stigma and styles where inhibition occurs. This
was accomplished by means of stylar grafting procedures basically similar
to those previously employed by Yasuda with Petunia and Emerson on O. organensis.
By rejoining the cut ends of styles in a drop of lactose-gelatin and covering
the point of juncture with a lens-paper "splint," it was possible to obtain
appreciable growth of pollen tubes from compatible tissues into styles whose
stigmas would otherwise inhibit the growth of tubes of this same genetic constitution.
In additional experiments, tubes were grown in tandem fashion with the cut
end of a style joined to a stigma lobe, as well as in reverse tandem positions
with two cut styles joined so that their stigmas faced in opposite directions.
The path of the pollen tubes was easily checked by crushing the styles or
stigmas between glass slides and staining the tissues in an I-KI solution.
Extensive growth of pollen tubes occurred in compatible styles up to the tip
of grafted incompatible stigmas but there was no growth into stigmas. When
compatible stigmas were used, most of the pollen tubes continued their growth
through the graft juncture and into the tissues of the stigma. To summarize
our findings, we observed that complete inhibition occurs in the stigma, only
partial inhibition in the style; from this we were able to suggest that an
hypothetical incompatibility substance is formed in the stigmas, and some
of this either moves into the styles or is synthesized there in lesser concentrations.
next problem was somehow to counteract or re-move the incompatibility substance.
After many trials and errors we succeeded in accomplishing this by placing
the excised styles in water at 50°C for 5 minutes, then keeping them
at 27°C for 24 hours before pollination. Appreciable reduction of incompatibility
occurs immediately following the 5-minute treatment, but the maximum growth
of pollen tubes into otherwise incompatible styles required the 24-hour delay
between treatment and pollination. It was found that storage of the treated
styles in a refrigerator at about 4°C following the heat treatment did
not allow the further degradation of the incompatibility such as occurred
at 27°C. This suggested that a biochemical process and not merely a physical
change such as diffusion must be involved. In other experiments one of my
students, Dr. Sudhir Kumar, obtained some degree of destruction of the incompatibility
substance by long treatments with ultraviolet irradiation. Using a lamp having
maximum emission at 2540 Angstroms, he obtained some degree of effect after
a 2-hour exposure and an even greater effect following a 4-hour exposure to
the ultraviolet. The heat treatments have been used success-fully also with
Oenothera rhombip,etala, and with this species treatment of only one to two
minutes has proved effective.
we are trying to see whether we can determine what it is we are changing by
these treatments, but thus far we have failed to extract any active substances
from the tissues. Maybe an answer will come from the work we have projected
for the coming summer. Whenever the answer may come, we shall be able to say,
in the words of Robert Louis Stevenson,
is over, life was gay
have come the primrose way.
Books and Articles in Botany
W. Knobloch Michigan State University
of botany s e l d o m have time to dwell on background or general interest
materials in the subject. Many teachers do publicize books which should be
read in addition to the textbook, but the use of this technique is not exploited
as much as it should be. Below are listed some titles which most students
could peruse with profit and which should be in most college libraries.
OF THE WORLD by H. C. D. de Wit. Vols. 1 and
2, 1966, 1967, New York, E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc.
PLANTS OF THE WORLD by Marcel Belviane,
by Anthony J. Huxley. 1.957, New York, Hanover House.
FOUNDATIONS OF SCIENCE by Sheldon J. Lachman.
Detroit, The Hamilton Press (an excellent primer on science).
PALMER, PLANT EXPLORER OF THE AMERICAN
by Rogers McVaugh. 1956, Norman, Univ. Oklahoma Press.
BOTANY, 1873-1892, DECADES OF TRANSITION by Andrew D. Rodgers, III. 1944,
Princeton, Princeton Univ. Press.
OF THE FRONTIER by Samuel W. Geiser.
Dallas, Southern Methodist Univ. Press. EVOLUTION by Ruth Moore. 1962, Life
Nature Library, New York, Time Inc.
PLANTS by Frits W. Went. 1.963, Life Nature Library, New York, Time Inc.
AND ODYSSEYS OF FOOD AND MEDICINAL
by Ernst and Johanna Lehner. 1962, New York, Tudor Publishing Co.
AND SYMBOLISM OF FLOWERS, PLANTS AND
by Ernst and Johanna Lehner. 1961, New York, Tudor Publishing Co.
DRUGS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD by Norman
1965, New York, Dodd, Mead & Co.
ANCIENT AND MODERN USE OF PLANT ARROW
by R. H. Cheney. Scientific Monthly 23: 552-555. 1926.
GOLDEN BOUGH by James G. Frazer. 1951, New York, Macmillan Co.
POLO by Manuel Komrof f. 1952, New York, Messner.
MEDICINE by Margaret B. Kreig. 1964, Chicago, Rand McNally.
BOTANICAL PAPERS by Irving W. Knobloch.
New York, Prentice-Hall Co.
DESERT by A. Starker Leopold. 1961, New York, Time Inc.
NORTH AMERICAN DESERTS by Edmund C. Jaeger.
Stanford, Stanford Univ. Press.
WILDFLOWERS by Edmund C. Jaeger. 1941. Stanford, Stanford Univ. Press.
WONDERFUL LIFE OF FLOWERS by Paul Jaeger.
New York, E. P. Dutton.
HERBS AND SPICES by Colin Clair. 1961, New York, Abelard-Schuman.
ADVANCE OF THE FUNGI by Ernest C. Large. 1962, New York, Dover.
EARTH by Donald C. Peattie. 1961, New York, Viking Press.
MAN AND LIFE by Edgar Anderson. 1952, Boston, Little, Brown and Co.
FOREST AND THE SEA by Marston Bates. 1960, New York, Random House.
AND HISTORY by E. Parmalee Prentice. 1951, Caldwell, Idaho, Caxton Printers.
LAURELS: THE LIVES AND ACHIEVEMENTS OF GREAT NATURALISTS by Donald C. Peattie.
1936, New York, Simon and Schuster.
MOLDS AND MEN by C. M. Christensen. 1951, Minneapolis, Univ. Minnesota Press.
WORLD WAS MY GARDEN by David Fairchild. 1938, New York, Scribners.
WORLD GROWS ROUND MY DOOR by David Fair-
1947, New York, Scribners.
ISLANDS OF THE GREAT EAST by David Fair-,
1948, New York, Scribners.
AS FOOD by H, W. Milner. 1953, Scientific American 189: 31-35.
RELATION OF PLANTS TO PUBLIC HEALTH by Wil-
T. Pen f ound. Economic Botany 7: 183-187. 1953.
INFLUENCE OF THE POTATO by R. N. Salamon.
American 187: 50-56. 1952.
THAT CHANGED HISTORY by Alice
Wood. Natural History 65: 532-536. 1956. MOLDS AND MEN by Ralph Emerson. Scientific
American 186: 28-32. 1952.
by J. H. Gerald. Natural History 62: 352-354. 1953.
SERVE MODERN MAN by J. E. Harris. Natural History 65: 64-71. 1956.
by I. M. Lamb, Scientific American 201: 144-156. 1959.
GIANT AMONG THE ALGAE by Hazel Mohler.
Magazine 52: 406-408. 1959.
by A. H. Rose. Scientific American 202: 136-146. 1960.
OILS by A. J. Haagen-Smit. Scientific American 189: 70-75. 1953.
by F. F, Nord and W. J. Schubert. Scientific American 199: 104-113. 1958.
by John E, Pfeiffer. Scientific American 179: 28-39. 1948.
by John E. Pfeiffer. Natural History 69: 8-15. 1960.
by R. D. Preston. Scientific American 197: 156-168. 1957.
OF THE CELL by P. Siekevitz. Scientific American 197: 1.31-1.40. 1957.
SHAPE by Eric Ashby. Scientific American 181: 22-29. 1949.
RINGS AND STINSPOTS by J. H. Rush. Scientific American 186: 54-58. 1952.
COLORS by K. V. Thinzana. Scientific American 183: 40-43. 1950.
STRUCTURE by Simon Williams. Scientific American 188: 64-68. 1953.
FERTILIZATION OF FLOWERS by Verne Grant. Scientific American 184: 52-57. 1951.
WONDER DUST OF NATURE by Donald C. Peat-tie. Nature Magazine, October 1946.
PINE, OLDEST KNOWN LIVING THING by Edmund Schulman. National Geographic Magazine
113: 355-371. 1958.
TREE AS AN INVENTION by C. D. Stewart. Atlantic Monthly 143: 433-441. 1929.
VOYAGERS by Albert Herre. Nature Magazine 39: 485-488. 1946.
IN THE ARCTIC by Rutherford Platt. Scientific American 194: 88-94. 1956.
PLANTS OF KRAKATOA by Frits Went. Scientific American 181: 52-54. 1949.
MOVEMENTS by Victor A. Greulach. Scientific American 192: 101-106. 1955.
RISE OF WATER IN PLANTS by Victor A. Greulach. Scientific American 187: 78-82.
ROLE OF LIGHT IN PHOTOSYNTHESIS by Daniel I.
Arnon. Scientific American 203: 104-118. 1960.
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM OF PLANTS by Susan Biddulph and Orlin Biddulph. Scientific
American 200: 44-49. 1959.
PLANTS by Y. Haneda. Natural History 65: 482-484. 1956.
LUMINESCENCE OF LIVING THINGS by E. Newton Harvey. Scientific American 178:
by Paul K. Stumpf. Scientific American 188: 84-93. 1953.
OF ORGANIC SUBSTANCES IN TREES by Mar-
H. Zimmerman. Science 133: 73-79. 1961.
ORGANIC FARMING—BUNK by R. I. Throckmorton. Read-
Digest 61: 45-48. 1952.
GROWTH OF MUSHROOMS by John T. Bonner. Scientific American 194: 97-106. 1956.
MAKES LEAVES FALL by W. P. Jacobs. Scientific American 193: 82-89. 1955.
by Dov Koller. Scientific American 200: 75-84. 1959.
by R. M. Muir and R. E. Yager. Natural History 67: 498-501. 1958.
MYSTERIOUS CLOCKS by Frank A. Brown, Jr. Saturday Evening Post. December 24,
CLOCKS OF LIFE by S. B. Hendricks. Atlantic Monthly 200: 111-115. 1957.
ECOSPHERE by LaMont C. Cole. Scientific American 198: 83-92. 1958.
AND THE CELL by A. Hollaender and G. E.
Scientific American 201: 94-100. 1959. LIGHT AND LIFE by George Wald. Scientific
IN PLANT SOCIETIES by James Bonner. Natural History 68: 508-513. 1959.
TREES by 7'. Dobzhansky and Joao Murfa-
Scientific American 190: 78-80. 1954. WEED CONTROI. BY INSECT by James K.
American 197: 56-62. 1957.
IS AN ANT PALACE by Ross E. Hutchins. Natural History 66: 496-499. 1957.
FUNGI by J. J. Maio. Scientific American 199: 67-72. 1958.
IS THE POPULATION BOOM TAKING US? by Paul B. Sears. Science Digest 48: 14-20.
LIBERATION IN THE HIGHER FUNGI by C. T. In-gold. Endeavor 16: 78-83. 1957.
MOMENT OF FERTILIZATION by R. D. Allen. Scientific American 201: 124-134.
QUEST OF FERN SEED by Donald. C. Peattie. Atlantic Monthly 185: 35-37. 1950.
DOUBLE LIFE OF THE FERN by Hugh Spencer. Nature Magazine 45: 40-43. 1952.
EVOLUTION OF SEX by P. A. Zahl. Scientific American 180: 52-55. 1949.
AND CHEMICAL REACTIONS IN NEUROSPORA by
W. Beadle. Science 129: 1715-1719. 1959. THE STRUCTURE OF THE HEREDITARY MATERIAL
H. C. Crick. Scientific American 191: 54-61. 1954. NUCLEAR CONTROL OF THE
CELL by Helen Gay. Scien-
American 202: 126-136. 1960.
OF THE GENES by T. M. Sonneborn. Scientific American 183: 30-39. 1950.
FLOWERS CHANGED THE WORLD by Loren Eiseley. Science Digest 45: 70-75. 1959.
BEGINNINGS OF COAL- by R. E. Janssen. Scientific American 179: 46-51. 1948.
MISSING EVIDENCE by H. B. D. Kettlewell, Scientific American 200: 48-53. 1959.
IN BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE, 2nd ed., by Irving W. Knobloch. 1967, New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts.
LIFE OF THE PACIFIC WORLD by Elmer D. Merrill. 1946, New York, Macmillan Co.
LIFE IN MALAYA by R. E. Holttum. 1954, Lon-don, Longmans, Green & Co.
TROPICAL RAIN FOREST by P. W. Richards. 1952, Cambridge, Cambridge Univ. Press.
WORLD OF FLOWERS by Herbert Reisigl. 1965, London, B. T. Batsford Ltd.
CARNIVOROUS PLANTS by Francis E. Lloyd. 1942, Waltham, Chronica Botanica Co.
TREES OF THE WORLD by Edwin A. Men-
1962, New York, Hearthside Press Inc.
STORY OF LIVING PLANTS by Charles E. Olmstead.
Chicago, University of Knowledge Inc.
GREEN EARTH by Harold W. Rickett. 1943, Lan-
Jacques Cattell Press.
AND OUR SOCIAL ECONOMY by Alexander Mar-tin. 1948, National Wildlife Federation,
PLACE OF BOTANY IN THE LIFE OF THE UNIVERSITY by C. D. Darlington. 1954, London,
George Allen & Unwin Ltd.
COMPLEAT BOTANIST by Aaron J. Sharp. Science 146: 745-748. 1964.
AND HUMAN HISTORY by P. Maheshwari. 1965, Hyderabad, Osmania University.
A GUIDE TO PLANT HOBBIES by Herbert S. Zim. 1947, New York, Harcourt Brace.
AND HUMAN ECONOMICS by Ronald Good. 1933, Cambridge, The University Press.
AND MAN by Clarence J. Hylander and Oran B. Stanley. 1947, Philadelphia, Blakiston
THAT CHANGED THE WORLD by Bertha S. Dodge.
Boston, Little, Brown and Co.
WILD PLANTS OF EASTERN NORTH AMERICA by
L. Fernald and Alfred C. Kinsey, rev. by Reed Rollins. 1958, .New
York, Harper & Row.
NARCOTIC AND STIMULATING DRUGS,
USE AND ABUSE by Louis Lewin. 1964, New
E. P. Dutton & Co.
DOUBLE HELIX by James D. Watson. 1968, New York, Antheneum.
HOOKERS OF KEW by Mea Allan, 1967, London, Michael Joseph.
FOR THE KING by Arthur R. Steele. 1964,
Duke Univ. Press.
Ware Sinnott (1888-1968)
January 6, 1.968, Edmund W. Sinnott, Sterling Professor of Botany Emeritus,
Yale University, died at the age of 79. The death of this eminent scientist
and scholar is a severe loss not only to the botanical world but to the academic
community and to the broad spectrum of biological sciences which his distinguished
career en-compassed and so greatly enriched.
Sinnott's boyhood interest in natural history, nurtured in the family of a
life-long science teacher, eventually led to Harvard where he received both
his undergraduate and graduate training. His early scientific work dealt with
the anatomy and comparative morphology of higher plants, using the constant,
specific characters of form to elucidate taxonomic relationships and evolutionary
pathways. Impressed not only by the diversity, but also the constancy of specific
plant characters, he turned to studies of the inheritance of form. His classic
demonstration of the genetic basis of fruit shape in the Cucurbitaceae laid
the foundation for subsequent extensive investigations of the genetics of
other structural differences and related developmental patterns. His studies
extended throughout the broad range of morphogcnetic phenomena in higher plants,
including polarity, correlation symmetry, regeneration, and differentiation.
I doubt that any of Professor Sinnott's colleagues or students of this period
are likely to forget the enthusiasm and conviction conveyed through these
familiar words: "Organic form is the visible expression of an inner relatedness,
or biological organization, characteristic of life at every level. This is
the most important problem that confronts students of the life sciences."
productive, experimental period was also marked by his conceptual evolution
of morphogenesis—as a distinct discipline, closely related to other
areas of biology. A long-time goal, of coordinating this vast body of in-formation
into a reference textbook, was realized in 1960 with the publication of "Plant
Morphogenesis," bringing focus and recognition to this field as a major concern
of biology. Dr. Sinnott's views and conclusions are most aptly summarized
in his own words: "Back of all the phenomena of genetics, biochemistry, and
physiology stands the important fact that a living thing is an organism, that
there is an interrelationship among its parts which is manifest in development,
and that if this system is disturbed it tends, by a process of self-regulation,
to restore itself. The most evident expression of this organization is the
form of the organism and its structures. Morphogenesis, the study of the origin
of form, thus assumes a central position in the biological sciences."
Professor Sinnott's most valuable and far-reaching contributions are those
resulting from a dedication to productive scholarship and teaching. A legion
of under-graduates as well as graduate students were influenced by the clarity
and enthusiasm of his lectures and by his genuine interest in students. The
first editions of Dr. Sinnott's widely used textbooks in botany and genetics
were pioneer works. Through subsequent editions they have inspired many generations
of students and have reflected the intellectual vigor and virtuosity of this
gifted teacher. "The tonic of curiosity and the fresh air of skepticism are
sovereign aids for maintaining our minds in that state of health and vigor
in which they can steadily assimilate a rich diet of knowledge without becoming
sluggish and overfed." This admonition to students, appearing in the first
edition of "Botany—Principles and Problems," is perhaps the keynote
to a remark-able intellectual vitality which he fortunately maintained throughout
Sinnott's academic career began at Harvard University, where he held an instructorship
for two years after completing his Ph.D. From 1915 to 1928 he was Professor
of Botany and Genetics at the Connecticut Agricultural College. This was followed
by a professor-ship in botany at Barnard College and later by an appointment
to the faculty of Columbia University. In 1940 Dr. Sinnott came to Yale, as
Sterling Professor of Botany and chairman of the department. It was here,
in 1941-1944, that I had the good fortune to begin and complete my doctoral
research under Professor Sinnott's guidance. So, also, began a professional
association which I was privileged to share for the remainder of his life.
It is thus difficult, if not impossible, for me to present an objective view
of this man's numerous contributions to biology and to the university he served
in multiple capacities, including six years as Dean of the Graduate School,
until his retirement from academic duties in 1956. Perhaps the best witness
to his fruitful leadership as chair-man of the botany department is the roll
call of eminent scientists whose combined range of interest, for a while,
constituted one of the most unique and outstanding plant science faculties
of all time. The productivity of this group, including graduate students,
is well recorded in publications; it is highlighted by the now historic advances
in microbial genetics which occurred here during this period.
the many honors Professor Sinnott received were election to the National Academy
of Science, the Philosophical Society, and Fellow of the American Academy
of Arts and Sciences. He also held important offices in numerous professional
societies, serving as president of the Botanical Society of America in 1937
and president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in
1948. On the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Botanical Society he
was one of the first fifty members of the society to receive the Certificate
of Merit. This award emphasizes the diversity of his scientific achievements:
"Edmund Ware Sinnott, morphologist, anatomist, geneticist and botanical statesman,
for his numerous varied and sustained contributions to plant anatomy, histology,
evolution and botanical theory." Recently Yale University paid tribute to
Dr. Sinnott, for his unparalleled
both as a teacher and in the various academic positions which sixteen active
years encompassed. This tribute, by the President and Fellows of Yale University,
concludes with the following statement: "A loyal son of Harvard, by his stature
as a distinguished scientist, administrator, historian and great humanist
he brought honor to this university and warm friendship to a legion of admiring
colleagues both here and throughout the world."
are but a few of the landmarks in the career of a dynamic scholar who viewed
science as "man's great adventure with the universe." The rich legacy of nearly
a half century of Edmund Sinnott's labors will continue to lead the way and
challenge others to participate in this great adventure.
1967, the General Section voted to assess its members $1.00 a year in order
to maintain an active roll and to solidify its membership. An active membership
list has been assembled from replies to a letter sent to all members of the
Botanical Society whose names were followed by a "G" on their Addressograph
plates. All society members who may not have received (or answered) the letter
and who wish to be included on the section roll and mailing list, please send
name, complete address, and $1.00 to Prof. D. W. Bierhorst, Secretary-Treasurer,
General Section, Botanical Society of America. Plant Science Building, Box
33, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14850. A receipt will be returned
only if a self-addressed post card is enclosed.
Central States Section of the Botanical Society of America plans a foray for
early June 1968 to various wetland and badland areas of North Dakota. The
time promises to be a peak flowering period. Accommodations will be available
and interested persons are asked to write for further details to Dr. Vera
Faccy, Department of Biology, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North
Northeastern Section of the Botanical Society of America, in cooperation with
the Torrey Botanical Club, announces its summer field meeting to be held at
Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada, June 9-12, 1968. Professor
Arthur Langford, Chairman. For further information, write to Prof. Robert
K. Zuck, Secretary-Treasurer, Northeastern Section, Botanical Society of America,
Department of Botany, Drew University, Madison, New Jersey. Members from other
sections are welcome.
Frederick I. Eilers, formerly of Oberlin College, and Dr. Richard L. Mansell,
formerly of the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base,
Texas, are new additions to the staff of the Department of Botany and Bacteriology
at the University of South Florida. Dr. Diane Wagner, formerly of California
State College, Fullerton and Dr. Harold Humm, formerly of Queens
North Carolina, have now become adjunct members of the department.
Guenther Srotzky, formerly Chairman of the Kitchawan Research Laboratory of
the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, has joined the Department of Biology, New York
University, Washington Square.
Marine Botany Course
Department of Botany, University of Maryland will offer a course in marine
plant biology to be presented during the summer session at the Chesapeake
Biological Laboratory, Solomons Island, Maryland. The course will consist
of five one-hour lectures and three, 3-hour laboratory sessions for each of
the six weeks. Included in the course of study will be an introduction to
the taxonomic, physiological, and biochemical characteristics of marine plants
which are basic to their role in the ecology of the oceans and estuaries.
The course is under the direction of Professor Robert W. Krauss and members
of the Mary-land botany department with guest lecturers. Interested persons
should write to Professor Krauss, Head, Department of Botany, University of
Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20740 for further information.
Commission on Undergraduate Education in the Biological Sciences (CUEBS) is
contemplating the formulation of an annual publication for teachers in general
courses in biology, botany, and zoology designed to keep them abreast of the
significant findings in the field of biology. It has been suggested that each
professional society con-tribute a list of "5-6 or maybe 10-12 citations to
the most significant publications in its area over the past year. Significance
would be judged primarily on overall influence on current thought or concepts
in biology." In the absence on sabbatical of Dr. S. N. Postlethwait, who has
agreed to work on this project with CUEBS, interested persons are invited
to send titles of appropriate publications with brief justifications to Dr.
Russell B. Stevens, Executive Director, Division of Biology and Agriculture,
National Research Council, 2101 Constitution Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20418.
Oceanographic Expedition 20 will depart Guayaquil, Ecuador on 16 September
1968 for research in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, and will terminate in Monterey,
California on 1 December 1968. The cruise will provide the opportunity for
almost all types of "blue water" biological oceanographic research, but will
tend to concentrate on the reproductive cycles and food chain relation-ships
of the abyssal benthic communities of the region. The Expedition represents
an intensive 15 quarter-unit graduate level course in biological oceanography
given at sea by a faculty of three. Ten NSF awards covering room and board,
transportation to and from the vessel, and full tuition are available. Applicants
must be research-oriented graduate students in biology, in good academic standing
excellent physical and emotional health. Applications will be accepted until
1 June 1968 and advance inquiries are encouraged. Contact Prof. M. Gilmartin,
Hopkins Marine Station, Pacific Grove, California 93950.
and Indexing Services
Abstracting Board of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
announces the publication of "Compared Activities of the Main Abstracting
and Indexing Services Covering Physics, Chemistry and Biology during the Year
1965." Copies may be secured for $5.00 U.S. plus mailing charges from ICSU
Abstracting Board, 17 rue Mirabeau, Paris 16e, France.
Fulbright-Hays Awards for 1969-1970
are now being accepted for Fulbright-Hays appointments for university lecturing
and advanced re-search abroad during 1969-1970. It is expected that specialists
in various of the biological sciences will receive grants for work in about
twenty countries. Under the Fulbright program, such specialists have recently
served as lecturers in the Republic of China, Finland, Honduras, Iran, Malaysia,
Peru, Thailand, the United Arab Republic, and Uruguay, and they have held
awards for research in Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, India, Italy,
Japan, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nor-way, Portugal, and the United
basic application requirements are: U.S. citizen-ship; a doctoral degree or
equivalent status for research; college or university teaching experience
for lecturing appointments; in some cases, proficiency in a foreign language.
Fulbright awards generally consist of a maintenance allowance in local currency
to cover normal living costs of the grantee and family while in residence
abroad, and roundtrip travel for the grantee (transportation is not provided
for dependents). For lecturers going to most non-European countries, the award
includes a dollar supplement, subject to the availability of funds; or it
carries a stipend in dollars and foreign currency, the amount depending on
the assignment, the lecturer's qualifications, salary, and other factors.
lecturing awards under the 1969-1970 program, application before June 1, 1968
is strongly recommend-ed. The deadline for research applications is June 1,
1968. Application forms, a list of openings in the biological sciences, and
details on the terms of awards for particular countries are available from
the Committee on Inter-national Exchange of Persons, 2101 Constitution Avenue,
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418.
Department of Botany, University of Vermont, will offer an NSF-sponsored summer
institute in Plant Growth and Development during July and August 1968. The
program, for college teachers of botany and biology, will be taught by faculty
members of the Department of Botany and invited plant scientists from other
institutions and will be held in the laboratories of the new Life Science
Building. Further information may be had by addressing Prof. Richard M. Klein,
Department of Botany, The University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05401.
Jesse M. Greenman Award of the Missouri Botanical Garden will be given to
a botanical systematist for the best thesis paper published during the preceding
calendar year. The award of $100 is sponsored by the Missouri Botanical Garden
Alumni A s s o c i a t i o n. The first award will be presented during the
American Botanical Society Banquet at the 1968 AIBS meetings. Papers submitted
should have been published during calendar year 1967 and result from M.S.
or Ph.D. thesis research in plant systematics. Papers submitted for consideration
should reach the following address before 1 May 1968: David M. Gates, Director,
Missouri Botanical Garden, 2315 Tower Grove Avenue, St. Louis, Mo. 63110.
International Congress of Photosynthesis Research is to be held at Freudenstadt,
Germany, June 4-8, 1968. Plenary sessions and section meetings will be concerned
with biochemical and biophysical problems connected with the process of photosynthesis.
Circular with full information may be secured from Prof. Dr. H. Metzner, Inter-national
Congress of Photosynthesis Research, Institut fur Chemische Pflanzenphysiologie,
Universitiit Tiibingen, 74 Tiibingen, Germany.
Palynological Organization Formed
new scientific organization, named the American Association of Stratigraphic
Palynologists, was formed in Tulsa, Okahoma in December 1967. The objectives
of AASP are to promote the science of palynology, especially as it relates
to stratigraphic applications and biostratigraphy; to foster the spirit of
scientific research among its members and to disseminate information relating
interested in palynology and in the objectives of the Association are invited
to membership. Annual dues are $5.00 and membership application forms are
avail-able from the Secretary-Treasurer, Dr. Alfred Traverse, Department of
Geology and Geophysics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
16802. Other elected officials of the Association are: President, Paul W.
Nygreen, Chevron Oil Company; Vice President, D. Colin McGregor, Geological
Survey of Canada; Editor, Lewis E. Stover, Esso Production Research Company;
and councilors, George R. Fournier, Gulf Oil Corporation; Robert L. Tabbert,
Atlantic Richfield Company; and Charles F. Upshaw, Pan American Petroleum
on Botany as a Profession" by Dr. Robert M. Page appeared in the previous
issue of Plant Science Bulletin. Its authorship is ascribed to George S. Avery
and Harriet Creighton and others. It has been called to the attention of the
editor of this issue that the name of Dr. Irwin Spear of the University of
Texas should be mentioned in this connection because of his considerable contribution
to the preparation of the "Careers" pamphlet.