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History of Modern Genetics

History of Modern Genetics

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    The papers of Guido Pontecorvo, Malcolm Ferguson-Smith, and James Harrison Renwick have been selected for inclusion in the Wellcome Digital Library pilot project "Modern Genetics and its Foundations". Over the next five years Wellcome intends to create a groundbreaking digital library, which will allow open access to a variety of online research materials, including books, archives, films, photographs and audio content. These three significant collections of influential Glasgow Geneticists will be digitised over the coming year by the University of Glasgow in its new digitisation suite.

    Guido Pontecorvo (1907-1999), who liked to be known by his nickname, Ponte, was the University's first Professor of Genetics, 1955 to 1968, and has been described as "one of the founding fathers of modern genetics". He endowed prizes and scholarships for students at the University and the Genetics Building was named for him in 1994.

    For more information see Guido Pontecorvo's biography on University Story. See the full collection description for the Papers of Guido Pellegrino Arrigo Pontecorvo on our online catalogue.

    You can also find images from the collection on our Flickr page.

    James (Jim) Harrison Renwick (1926-1994) was a Titular Professor of Genetics at the University from 1967-1968 and made a fundamental contribution to modern genetics. For a period of nearly 20 years up to the early 1970s, he pioneered the use of genetic markers to map disease genes on human chromosomes, seeing this field develop from its infancy.

    For more information see James Harrison Renwick's biography on University Story.

    The bulk of Renwick’s archive consists of research material, bringing together pedigree charts and associated family information on patients from all over the United Kingdom, the United States of America and elsewhere, offprints frequently annotated by Renwick, covering letters from doctors, correspondence with colleagues, and associated medical, laboratory and computing data, filed by project. The collection also contains biographical material, publications and correspondence. See the full collection description for the Papers of Dr James Harrison Renwick on our online catalogue.

    Malcolm Andrew Ferguson-Smith (1931- ) is an award winning graduate of the University who was Professor of Medical Genetics from 1973 until 1987 and a celebrated geneticist who contributed significantly to gene mapping. In the 1970s he established a Regional Genetics Service for the West of Scotland which provided the opportunity for continuing clinical genetics research and the development of prenatal diagnosis and screening for Down Syndrome and Spina Bifida.

    For more information see Malcolm Ferguson-Smith's biography on University Story.

    His archive contains correspondence and other related papers covering the development of his main research interests, his activities at the University of Glasgow and the University of Cambridge, his role as a genetic consultant advising doctors and patients and his management of the medical genetics service serving millions of people. See the full collection description for the Papers of Malcolm Ferguson-Smith on our online catalogue.

    Image Credit: University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections.