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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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About Dr. Gerald A. Marx
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The following appeared in Volume 21 of the Pisum Newsletter, issued in 1989 by the Department of Horticutural Sciences, Cornell University, New York.

Gerald A. Marx, Professor of Horticultural Sciences at Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, NY, died in Nov. 1988 at his home in Geneva.  Born in Wisconsin (1930), he received his B.S. (1952), M.S. (1956), and Ph.D. (1959) degrees in agronomy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Dr. Marx joined the faculty of Cornell University in 1959 and over the years established an international reputation for his work on the genetics and breeding of vegetable crops.  He made significant breeding improvements for tomatoes, winter squash, carrots, and beets. 
However, he was best known for his work with garden peas. In 1969 he was instrumental in founding the Pisum Genetics Association, with the aim of fostering genetic research on the pea, facilitating exchange of information, and ensuring the preservation of valuable genetic stocks.  Dr. Marx continued to play a guiding role in the affairs of the Pisum Genetics Association, serving as chairman of the Coordinating Committee and editor of the Pisum Newsletter until his death.  His deep and abiding interest in the pea undoubtedly helped sustain him through a long and increasingly painful

Dr. Marx had a keen appreciation of the value of basic research and its usefulness in solving practical problems.  Developmental genetics of higher plants was one of his greatest interests.  His acute  powers of observation and close attention to his plants enabled him to detect and note various effects and interactions which significantly increased our knowledge of the actions and  interrelationships of many developmental mutants.   His two recent reviews on developmental mutants will serve as a valuable source of information for scientists working in this area.  Any and all
genetic variation in the garden pea was of much interest to Dr. Marx.  He made extensive investigations of the inheritance and linkage relationships of pea mutants.  He developed at Geneva an immense and highly valuable dynamic collection of thoroughly documented genetic stocks of peas.  He shared this valuable germplasm with researchers from all over the world and will long be remembered for his generous encouragement of students and other scientists interested in investigating the nature of gene action.


Last Modified: 8/12/2016
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