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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Margaret Newton - Pioneering Cereal Rust Researcher

Author
item Kolmer, James

Submitted to: Pioneering Women in Plant Pathology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2005
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Margaret Newton was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1871. She graduated from McGill University in 1918, the first Canadian woman to obtain a bachelor's degree in Agriculture. She obtained an M.S. degree from McGill in 1919; the topic of her thesis research was physiologic specialization of the wheat stem rust pathogen Puccinia graminis. She continued her Ph.D. studies at the University of Minnesota, where she continued her studies on race variation in the wheat stem rust fungus. She was the first Canadian woman to obtain a Ph.D. degree in an agricultural science in 1922. Margaret Newton worked at the Dominion Rust Research Laboratory in Winnipeg from 1925 to 1945. She was best known for her research on the genetics of Puccinia graminis, for she which became world-famous. With her collaborator T. Johnson, she was the first to demonstrate Mendelian inheritance of virulence in a plant pathogenic fungus. She traveled throughout the world consulting with scientists working on wheat stem rust. She supervised the analysis of wheat stem rust races in Canada, and also the testing of wheat germplasm for stem rust resistance. Her efforts helped to develop many stem rust resistant wheat cultivars in western Canada. Margaret Newton retired to Victoria B. C. in 1945, and died there in 1971. In 1991, she was elected to the Science Hall of Fame in Ottawa Ontario, Canada.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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