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National Academy of Sciences recognises Southampton genetics scientist

Published: 21 April 2010
Professor Patricia Jacobs
Professor Jacobs’ work has contributed substantially to the study of medical and human genetics

A scientist who has made ground-breaking discoveries in human genetics has been elected to the highly prestigious National Academy of Sciences in the United States of America.

Professor Patricia Jacobs was the first scientist to discover an abnormal chromosome in a human, specifically the 47,XXY constitution in males with Klinefelter Syndrome - a condition found in men who have an extra chromosome, causing symptoms such as infertility and tall stature.

This was a milestone in the study of human genetics as it showed the first evidence that the Y chromosome was ‘male determined’ in mammals.

Professor Jacobs’ work has contributed substantially to the study of medical and human genetics and it is the foundation of modern research on the subject.

“I have been working in the field of genetics for more than 50 years and I’m thrilled my work has been recognised by the National Academy of Sciences,” comments Professor Jacobs, a cytogeneticist from the University of Southampton’s School of Medicine, based at the Wessex Regional Genetics Laboratory in Salisbury District Hospital.

Among her other distinctions Professor Jacobs has an OBE, has been a Fellow of the Royal Society since 1983 and a winner of the American Society of Human Genetics’ William Allan Memorial Award.

Her induction to the National Academy of Sciences will take place at a ceremony in Washington DC on 24 April. New members are nominated by the existing fellowship and are elected once a year in recognition of their achievements in science.

Very few individuals are elected from countries outside the USA and Professor Jacobs is one of only three scientists from the UK elected this year.

Professor Iain Cameron, Head of the School of Medicine, says: “Being recognised by the National Academy of Sciences is a great achievement for Professor Jacobs and the University. She has made a tremendous contribution to basic medical sciences, improving the understanding of genetic diseases, and her work has had a direct impact on patient care. She is an outstanding role model and I am delighted she is being recognised in this way.”

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