Famous 21st Century Geneticists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 James Watson

James Watson.
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Famous As: Molecular Biologist
Birthdate: April 6, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

James Watson is a geneticist, molecular biologist, and zoologist. He is credited with co-authoring the academic paper that propounded the double helix structure of nucleic acids such as DNA for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962. In 1977, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1997, he was awarded the National Medal of Science.

 2 Francis Collins

Francis Collins.
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Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: April 14, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Staunton, Virginia, U.S.

American physician-geneticist Francis Collins is known for his discovery of the genes related with several diseases and for leading the Human Genome Project while serving as director of NHGRI. Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science, Collins wrote the New York Times bestseller The Language of God and presently serves as director of the NIH.

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 3 Anne McLaren

Anne McLaren.
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Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: April 26, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 7, 2007

Geneticist Anne McLaren is remembered for her pioneering research in embryology that paved the way for further research in fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization. The Royal Society fellow had also appeared as a child actor in the film adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel Things to Come.

 4 Jeffrey C. Hall

Jeffrey C. Hall.
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Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: May 3, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Jeffrey C. Hall is an American chronobiologist and geneticist, currently serving as Brandeis University's Professor Emeritus of Biology. He is credited with conducting extensive research on the behavior and neurology of Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly), which revealed certain mechanisms of the circadian clocks. He received the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Michael Rosbash and Michael Young.

 5 Teresa Lambe

Teresa Lambe.
3
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Unknown

 6 John Maynard Smith

John Maynard Smith
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Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: February 6, 1920
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 19, 2004

One of the most influential evolutionary biologists of his generation, John Maynard Smith was originally aeronautical engineer. Later, he took a second degree in genetics and did extensive research on subjects like population genetics and evolution of sex. Known for formalizing the central concept in evolutionary game theory, he introduced the evolutionarily stable strategy, impacting a wide variety of studies.  

 7 Mario Capecchi

Mario Capecchi
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Famous As: Molecular Geneticist
Birthdate: October 6, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Verona, Italy

Mario Capecchi is a molecular geneticist who received the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Oliver Smithies and Martin Evans. They received the prize for discovering a method to create a knockout mouse, a genetically modified mouse in which a certain gene is turned off for experimental purposes. In 2001, Capecchi received the National Medal of Science.

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 8 Michael Rosbash

Michael Rosbash
3
Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: March 7, 1944
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri

Michael Rosbash is an American chronobiologist and geneticist, currently serving as a researcher and professor at Brandeis University. In 2017, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Jeffrey C. Hall and Michael W. Young for their discoveries of the controlling mechanisms of the circadian cycle. Rosbash has also received many other awards like the Massry Prize.

 9 Michael W. Young

Michael W. Young
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Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: March 28, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States

Michael W. Young is a biologist and geneticist. He has spent several years studying genetically controlled patterns of sleep and wakefulness within the fly species Drosophila melanogaster. Along with Jeffrey C. Hall and Michael Rosbash, he was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. His wife, Laurel Eckhardt, is also a biologist and the couple often collaborates professionally. 

 10 Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza

Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza
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Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: January 25, 1922
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Genoa, Italy
Died: August 31, 2018

 11 Seymour Benzer

Seymour Benzer
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: October 15, 1921
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bensonhurst, New York, United States
Died: November 30, 2007

Born to Polish Jew parents in the Bronx, Seymour Benzer would often cut open frogs in childhood. The molecular biologist is best known for his research on viral genes and for coining the term cistron. A Caltech professor, he was also made a Fellow of the Royal Society.

 12 Bruce Beutler

Bruce Beutler
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Famous As: Immunologist
Birthdate: December 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Immunologist Bruce Beutler is best known for his Nobel Prize-winning research on the innate immune system of the human body. The son of a scientist and physician, he was a child prodigy and graduated at age 18. He grew up to be associated with institutes such as the Scripps Research Institute.

 13 Matthew Meselson

Matthew Meselson
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Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: May 24, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States

Molecular biologist and geneticist Matthew Meselson is best known for his research on the Watson-Crick theory and the replication of DNA. The Harvard professor has received accolades such as the Guggenheim Fellowship and honorary degrees from eight universities, including Princeton and Yale. He has also been a CIA consultant.

 14 Susan Lindquist

Susan Lindquist
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Famous As: Professor
Birthdate: June 5, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: October 27, 2016

Cell biologist and MIT professor Susan Lindquist is best remembered for her research on protein folding and its impact on diseases. The Harvard alumna had also taught at the University of Chicago for 23 years. She was also the first female director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

 15 Emma Teeling

Emma Teeling
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Famous As: Zoologist
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 16 G. Ledyard Stebbins

G. Ledyard Stebbins
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Famous As: Botanist
Birthdate: January 6, 1906
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lawrence, New York, United States
Died: January 19, 2000

G. Ledyard Stebbins was an American geneticist and botanist. He is considered one of the 20th century's leading evolutionary biologists. Stebbins is credited with writing Variation and Evolution in Plants, which describes plant speciation and is considered his most important publication. For his contributions to science, G. Ledyard Stebbins received many awards including the prestigious National Medal of Science.

 17 Janet Rowley

Janet Rowley
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Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: April 5, 1925
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: December 17, 2013

Janet Rowley was an American geneticist. In 1972, Rowley became the first scientist to discover a chromosomal translocation, which she identified as the cause of various forms of cancers, proving that cancer is a genetic disease. Rowley won prestigious awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2017, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 18 Victor A. McKusick

Victor A. McKusick
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Famous As: Internist
Birthdate: October 21, 1921
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Parkman, Maine, United States
Died: July 22, 2008

Victor A. McKusick was an American medical geneticist and internist. Widely regarded as the father of medical genetics, McKusick was an ardent supporter of the mapping of the human genome. A celebrated geneticist, Victor A. McKusick won many prestigious awards including the Benjamin Franklin Medal for his contribution to science. 

 19 Maclyn McCarty

Maclyn McCarty
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Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: June 9, 1911
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: South Bend, Indiana, United States
Died: January 2, 2005

Maclyn McCarty was an American geneticist who became the first person to illustrate that genes were made of DNA. McCarty served as the Rockefeller University Hospital's physician-in-chief for 14 years. He also served as the vice president and a trusted adviser of Rockefeller University.

 20 Evelyn M. Witkin

Evelyn M. Witkin
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Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: March 9, 1921
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

 21 James V. Neel

James V. Neel
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Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: March 22, 1915
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hamilton, Ohio, United States
Died: February 1, 2000

Geneticist James V. Neel is known for his extensive research on genetic epidemiology and often studied sickle-cell disease and thalassemia. He also studied the effect of ionizing radiation on the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. He had also penned several books and over 600 scientific articles.

 22 Charles Yanofsky

Charles Yanofsky
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Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: April 17, 1925
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: NeNew York, New York, United States
Died: March 16, 2018

Although he is best known for demonstrating the colinearity of gene and protein structures, American geneticist Charles Yanofsky also had many other contributions to make. Spending the major part of his career at Stanford University, he helped to establish the one gene-one enzyme hypothesis, also making immense contribution to the mechanism of suppression and attenuation of expression of bacterial operons.

 23 Joe Hin Tjio

Joe Hin Tjio
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Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: November 2, 1919
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pekalongan, Indonesia
Died: November 27, 2001

 24 Habiba Alsafar

Habiba Alsafar
1
Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: 1977 AD
Birthplace: United Arab Emirates

 25 Franklin W. Stahl

Franklin W. Stahl
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Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: October 8, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts

Geneticist Franklin W. Stahl is best known for being part of the Meselson-Stahl experiment with Matthew Meselson and thus demonstrating the mode of DNA replication. The Harvard alumnus later taught at the University of Oregon and was also associated with the American Cancer Society and the National Academy of Sciences.

 26 Fred Gage

Fred Gage
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Famous As: Professor
Birthdate: October 8, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: United Sttes

Fred Gage made waves in the scientific community with his research on neurons. He not only discovered stem cells in the human brain but also proved that environmental stimuli affects the growth of new cells. Some believe he is a descendant of legendary brain-injury survivor Phineas Gage.

 27 Alfred G. Knudson

Alfred G. Knudson
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Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: August 9, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: July 10, 2016

Widely known for his groundbreaking two-hit hypothesis of cancer development and his prediction of recessive-acting tumor suppressor genes, Alfred G. Knudson was an American physician, who specialized in cancer genetics, beginning his research on observing retinoblastoma in children he treated. A much-loved academic, he was also a supportive and approachable mentor, affiliated with Fox Chase Cancer Center until his death.

 28 Stephen Elledge

Stephen Elledge
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Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: August 7, 1956
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, Illinois, United States

Stephen Elledge made pathbreaking discoveries related to DNA repair, which eventually helped scientists develop significant avenues in cancer therapy. While he initially studied chemistry, he deviated to biology later. The MIT alumnus later did his postdoctoral studies at Stanford. He has also earned awards such as the Gruber Prize in Genetics.

 29 Ismahane Elouafi

Ismahane Elouafi
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Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: August 15, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Youssoufia, Morocco

Currently the Chief Scientist of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Ismahane Elouafi is considered one of the twenty most influential women scientists in the Islamic world. Having twenty years of experience in agricultural research and holding top posts in different distinguished organizations, she is known to promote underutilized crops and use of non-fresh water in agriculture.

 30 Lihadh Al-Gazali

Lihadh Al-Gazali
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Famous As: Scientists
Birthdate: 1948 AD
Birthplace: Amarah, Iraq

 31 Barton Childs

Barton Childs
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Famous As: Pediatric
Birthdate: February 29, 1916
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hinsdale, Illinois, United States
Died: February 18, 2010

Johns Hopkins pediatrician and geneticist Barton Childs had also served the army during World War II. Apart from being the first director of genetics at Johns Hopkins, he conducted pioneering studies on the genetics of adrenal hyperplasia and Addison’s disease, and penned books such as Genetic Medicine: A Logic of Disease.

 32 Brian Charlesworth

Brian Charlesworth
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Famous As: Biologist, Geneticist
Birthdate: April 29, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: United Kingdom

 33 Lap-Chee Tsui

Lap-Chee Tsui
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Famous As: Geneticist, University teacher
Birthdate: December 21, 1950
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Shanghai, China

 34 Tak Wah Mak

Tak Wah Mak
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Famous As: Oncologist, University teacher
Birthdate: October 4, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: China

 35 Irene Uchida

Irene Uchida
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Famous As: Geneticist, Biologist
Birthdate: April 8, 1917
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Died: July 30, 2013

 36 Leonard Lerman

Leonard Lerman
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Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: June 27, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: September 19, 2012

Leonard Lerman revolutionized the study of DNA with his research on the chemicals that bind to DNA, which helped further research on antibiotics and antimalarial drugs. The son of a Ukrainian migrant, he later studied at Caltech. He was also associated with the Genetics Institute, one of the pioneering biotech companies.