Hermann Muller and Mutations in Drosophila

Resources with Additional Information

Hermann Muller
Credit: Hermann Muller, 1956,
Hermann J. Muller Collection I;
Box 11: Folder 04: Cold Spring
Harbor Laboratory Archives

Geneticist and Nobel prize laureate [Hermann J.] Muller was born and schooled in New York City, receiving an A.B., M.A. and, in 1915, his Ph.D. from Columbia University.  His first faculty appointment was at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He then accepted a two-year appointment as instructor at Columbia … .  In 1920 … Muller accepted an offer from the University of Texas. In Austin his experiments on fruit flies (Drosophila) first showed that exposure to radiation caused mutation in living organisms.  This work would earn Muller the 1946 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Muller applied for and won a Guggenheim fellowship in 1932 and left the U.S. in September to spend a year at the only Drosophila laboratory in Europe which was doing parallel work, Berlin's Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research.  …Muller [then] accepted a position at the Institute of Genetics in Leningrad. …  In December, 1934, he and his research group moved to Moscow. …

After leaving the Soviet Union in September 1937, Muller spent some weeks in Paris at Boris Ephrussi's laboratory before accepting an offer from F.A.E. Crew at the Institute of Animal Genetics in Edinburgh. …  [In late 1940, Muller was offered] a temporary position at Amherst College in Massachusetts, an undergraduate liberal-arts college. … [T]hat appointment was ultimately determined to end in June 1945. Following a visit to Bloomington, Indiana, and interviews with zoology department faculty and President Herman B. Wells, Muller was offered an appointment as research professor … . A year after his arrival at Indiana Muller received the Nobel Prize. …  Muller remained at Indiana University until his retirement in 1964.

- Edited excerpts from Muller mss., 1910-1967, Biographical Note, Archives Online at Indiana University

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Resources with Additional Information

Additional information about Hermann Joseph Muller and his research about exposure to radiation causing mutations in fruit flies ( Drosophila) is available in full-text documents and on the Web.

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