Mitosis:  Chronology and Links
A Chronology of the Description of Mitosis

1740's    A. Trembley described cell division of a sort, the fission of a 
         protozoan.

1830's    Ehrenberg described cell division in various protozoans.

1840-1880 Numerous descriptions of cell division in various cell types with
          various degrees of accuracy.  Each author used different
          terminologies and descriptions.

1841      Robert Remak provided the underpinnings for subsequent studies with a 
         publication on chick red cell division in 1841 (Med. A. Ver. Heilke. Pr. 10:127). 

1869      F.G. Balbiani provided a beautiful, detailed, description of the
          complexity of all the stages of mitosis in a protozoan.  However,
          he completely misidentified what he saw.  He considered the
          protozoan a multicellular organism and identified the nucleus as
          the testis and the chromosomes as spermatozoa.  As a result, this
          pioneering work was of no future influence.

1873      First reasonably accurate descriptions of mitosis by Schneider,
          Butschli, and Fol.  Eight years later a review article listed 194
          papers (by 86 authors) dealing with cell division published
          between 1874 and 1878.

1879       W. Schleicher used the term "karyokinesis" to describe "indirect cell division" 
          in 1879 (Arch. Mikroskop. Anat. 16:248)

1879      Walther Fleming described the nuclear condensations as consisting
          of "chromatin".  Walther Flemming extended Schleicher¹s observation also in 1879.
          He described the longitudinal splitting of (chromatin) "rods" and used Schleicher's 
          term, "karyokinesis."  Then he created a new word, "karyomitose." (Archiv. 
          Mikroskop. Anat.
16:302).  He suggested eight stages for karyomitosis. 

1882      Walther Fleming used the term "mitosis" to label the process and
          published a superb summary of the process.

1884     The terms "Prophase," "Metaphase," and "Anaphase" were invented by 
         E. Strasburger (Arch. Mikroskop. Anat. 23:246.)  

1887    The concept of chromsomes as heritable elements was introduced by 
         Theodor Boveri (Morph. Physiol. Munchen 3: 153). 

1888    H.W.G. Haldeyer-Harz gave us the word "Chromosome"
          (Arch. Mikroskop. Anat. 32:1).

1894    The term "Telophase" was presented to us by Martin Heidenhain 
          (Arch. Mikroskop. Anat. 43: 423).  

1902    Working with Ascaris, Boveri developed two principles:  Continuity of 
          Chromosomes and the Individuality of Chromosomes. (1902, Veh. Phys-med. 
          Ges Wurburg
35: 67).  Boveri also understood how rediscovered Mendel fit in 
          with cell division.  [Contributed by Dr. Blystone]

1913    H. Lundergardh coined the term "Interphase" (Archiv. Zellforsch. 9:203).  

1923    Painter (a young post doc who worked with Painter starting in 1911) defined the 
       human chromsome number in 1923 and showed that  humans were XY and not XO.  

1933    Painter described the giant salivary chromosomes of Drosophila 
        (Science 78:585, in 1933).  

 Meiosis, and Fertilization

1876    Hermann Fol described the penetration of a sea urchin ova by a single sperm.
         (C.R. Acad. Sci. Paris 83:667)  

1883    Edouard van Beneden working with Ascaris described reduction division at an 
         anatomical level.  He went  on to report additional events associated with fertilization 
         (See Arch. Biol. 4: 265, 1883.)  

1883 and 1885    August Weismann provided evidence for the purpose of the reduction 
         division of meiosis (Uber die Verebung and Die Kontinuitat des Keinplasmas als 
         Grandlage eine Theorie der Verebung
).  

~1890  Use of the term "Meiosis"


To: biolab@hubcap.clemson.edu
Subject: Re: meiosis and mitosis

Sometimes deciding when something occurred is very difficult. 
[Above] is a summary that I use when describing the history of describing
mitosis.  Following this I point out that the description of meiosis is
often said to have occurred about 1890 but that this date is equally
problematic.  I have no idea anymore where I found these dates.
14 Mar 2001 
          Albert A. Williams, Ph.D.
          Assoc. Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor of Biology
          Chair, Natural Science Division
          Manchester College
          N. Manchester, IN  46962
          E-mail:     AAWilliams@Manchester.edu
*****
Additional Contributions to the Chronology by Robert V. Blystone, Ph.D.

Dr. Blystone recommends "Henry Harris¹s delightful book:  The Birth of the Cell (Yale Press, 1999).  Anyone interested in the intellectual history of the cell should own this book."  "My interest in all this is more than passive.  Besides being the President of UT-Austin in the early 50¹s, Painter was a frequent guest lecturer in the graduate cytology seminar led by his former graduate student, John Biesele.  I was a student in those seminars.  John Biesele was my graduate professor, which after a sort makes Boveri my academic great grandfather."  Robert Blystone, 19 March 2001 
      Robert Blystone, Ph.D.
      Professor of Biology
      Trinity University
      San Antonio, Texas 78212
      rblyston@trinity.edu
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Comments & Questions: 
Please contact Dr. Anna E. Ross 
email: aross@cbu.edu