Letter from Barbara McClintock to Charles R. Burnham
McClintock expressed disappointment with Burnham's decision not to co-author a paper with her. She discussed some of her
possible research interests for the following year when she would join Burnham at Caltech for her NRC Fellowship.
Item is handwritten. Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
5 (329,000 Bytes)
1931-06-26 (June 26, 1931)
Burnham, Charles R.
Original Repository: University of Minnesota, University Archives. Charles Burnham Papers
Reproduced with permission of the University of Minnesota, University Archives. Charles Burnham Papers
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
From Ithaca to Berlin and Back Again, 1931-1935
The Order of the Genes C, Sh, and Wx in Zea Mays with Reference to a Cytologically Known Point in the Chromosome (1931)
Letter from Barbara McClintock to Charles R. Burnham (June 11, 1931)
Box Number: 3
Folder Number: 4
June 26, 1931
I was very much disappointed that you feel you can't go in with me on the paper. The reasons you gave I do not think are
strong enough. I would be glad if you would change your mind. I don't want to force you, so you do as you please. I shall
go ahead now but can insert any changes or additions later if you will come in with me. I saw Robbins of the National Research
Council. He said the joint authorship need not hold up the paper so that reason is dispensed with. You can let me know any
Have been a bit upset about the counts on number 7 for gl1. I had 4 plants in the greenhouse and selfed each. Two produced
miserable ears whose kernels refused to germinate. The other two produced fair ears but the kernels on one ear germinated
badly. The counts are as follows gl1gl1gl1(x) equals 1 ear equals 70:9 or an approximation to a trisomic ratio I shall wait
the results from the other ear (only a few plants)
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in a day or so. It looks as if number 7 might be gl1-v5 after all. I shall get plenty of counts this fall. It's just bad
luck now. If it is so then your counts last fall are significant. The part of equals 7 which contains gl1 then is not the
part that makes the trisomes character. The interchange region in [scientific formula] could be worked using the knob and
the arm which carries gl1-v5 could be located. The data, of course, are too small but just too suspicious.
I have not worked on number 2 until I can work sw [?] on number 8. If number 8 is not sw [?] then I can work thru Beadle's
material and pick out the sw trisome. It will save time in the end to eliminate number 8. It will be crossed to pw this summer.
Will you cross it to chocolate pericarp?
Am pleased that you will be at Cal. Tech. next year -- real pleased. We ought to have a lively corn time.
Concerning my work -- At present I am working on some of Stadler's x-ray material. I have been studying the effects of
x-ray on metabolic less as analyzed or mitotic appearances with the following method. After meiosis the spore nuclei go into
a metabolic stage. This starts from 4-6 days and then the 1st division
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of the microspore occurs. Using knobbed stock I can see what changes have occurred by an analysis of the 1st division when
the spores have been x-rayed after meiosis. It is the 1st division after the raying. Have gotten some interesting results
-- not unusual but I haven't gone far enough. That is for the early work. Will work on deficiencies when this material
comes along in the field. We want to see why so-called recovery occurs -- type of deficiencies, locations of deficiencies
with reference to chr. etc. I have some ideas but they are too unchecked as yet to even discuss them. I do not wish to attack
the problem from the usual way as I think we will find little more. Will let you know any new developments as soon as I have
any worth writing about.
My work for Cal. Tech. will depend a great deal on what happens this summer. I lo[ . . . ] finishing up trisomes is essential.
Prophase work will continue. I have several new ideas I wish to push. One is that I believe that the reason there is an opening
out during diplonema is because the chromatids are pulled apart and not repelled.
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This pulling takes place independently at different regions of the chr. but is never initiated at the insertion region which
is possibly pulled apart as the pull continues on the opening out chromatids. This pulling gives the chromosomes at diakinesis
their caterpillar-like appearance. More about that when I see you. I think it is important. The crossing over is a result
of this pull, the open bivalents at diakinesis are the 2nd expression of this pull.
Another point I may want to push is the relation of the so-called matrix to the nucleolus. I think the nucleolus is the matrix
and that it distributes the chromation in telophase. Have some suggestive evidence.
I am going to work on crossing over at knobs. I already feel certain I have proof that this occurs in diplonema but I need
good photographs and wider study.
Likewise, I hope to work on synapsis. Have some new material and a feeling that there is some variation.
There are several special problems with trisomes. I think I have written you about some. -- i.e., the relation of synapsis
to univalent formation and its corelation [sic]
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with crossing over. I am sorry not to be able to talk over all of this it seems so unsatisfactory by letter. Will be seeing
you in a few months anyway.
Here's hoping you change your mind about the paper if you would like to. Except for the risk involved every little bit
My arm sticks to the table (it is so warm) that I push the pen with difficulty -- excuse the scrawl. It has been very hot
and no rain. Many of my plants have died off. Fierce climate!