Barbara McClintock, Carnegie Scientist

In 1941, Milislav Demerec recruited Barbara McClintock, a cytogeneticist, for the staff of the CIW’s Department of Genetics at Cold Spring Harbor. Her small lab was on the second floor of Animal House, a building later renamed McClintock Laboratory in her honor. Her experimental field of maize was across from the building on what is now the north parking lot of the Carnegie Library. McClintock's studies and observations of mutation in kernels of maize (corn), led to her discovery of transposable genetic elements or “jumping genes.” She presented her paper on the topic at the 1951 Cold Spring Harbor Symposium. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983 for her discovery, which laid the foundation for today's research in genetic engineering.


For more information about Barbara McClintock please see her personal collection at


Barbara McClintock, 1944 

                                                               Maize research field (Carnegie building) 1944