Boveri, Theodor


German zoologist (1862–1915) who pioneered experimental embryology proposed what was later called the chromosomal theory of heredity and correlated it with Mendel's laws. He likewise anticipated the idea of gradients in embryo cells and of uncontrolled cell division as a cause of cancer.

Keywords: chromosomal rearrangements; chromosomal inheritance; nucleus‐plasma relation; sea urchin; cancer

Figure 1.

Portrait of Theodor Boveri. Reproduced by permission of the Historical Archives of the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli.

Figure 2.

Unequal distribution of chromosomes in tetrapolar egg cells. From Boveri (1914) Zur Frage der Entstehung maligner Tumoren. Jena: Gustav Fischer Verlag, Figures XXIX–XXXI.


Further Reading

Baltzer F (1967) Theodor Boveri: Life and Work of a Great Biologist, Translated from the German by Dorothea Rudnick. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Boveri M (1996) Verzweigungen. Ein Autobiographie. hrsg. von Uwe Johnson. Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp.

Boveri T (1904) Ergebnisse über die Konstitution der chromatischen Substanz des Zellkerns. Jena: Gustav Fischer Verlag.

Boveri T (1914) Zur Frage der Entstehung maligner Tumoren. Jena: Gustav Fischer Verlag.

Boveri T (1929) The Origin of Malignant Tumors. Baltimore: Waverly Press.

Gilbert SF (1978) The embryological origins of the gene theory. Journal of the History of Biology 11: 307–351.

Gillispie CC (ed.) (1970–1980) Dictionary of Scientific Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

Manchester K (1995) Theodor Boveri and the origin of malignant tumours. Trends in Cell Biology 5: 384–387.

Manchester K (1997) The quest by three giants of science for an understanding of cancer. Endeavour 21: 72–76.

Moritz KB (1993) Theodor Boveri (1862–1915): Pionier der modernen Zell‐ und Entwicklungsbiologie. Stuttgart: Fischer.

Satzinger H (2005) The chromosomal theory of heredity and the problem of gender equality in the work of Theodor and Marcella Boveri. In: Müller‐Wille S and Rheinberger HJ (eds) Conference. A Cultural History of Heredity III: 19th and Early 20th Centuries. Preprint 294, pp. 102–114. Berlin: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

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Dröscher, Ariane(Apr 2008) Boveri, Theodor. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0002371]