WITH this issue we begin a series of Perspectives and Review articles honoring our colleague James F. Crow, who, along with this journal, celebrated his 95th birthday this year. Why honor Jim? The answer is obvious to the many who have the privilege to know him: a gentleman and scholar of the highest order, he represents the best of our field.
Jim Crow is a living link between our generations and the founders of population genetics. Jim was Sewall Wright's colleague at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, for decades (1955–1988); Jim initiated a friendship with Ronald Fisher over an impromptu champagne tête-à-tête in the 1940s; and he hosted J. B. S. Haldane for a memorable lecture visit to Madison in the early 1960s (after learning from the New York Times that North Carolina had just canceled a public lecture by this famous Communist). There are few population geneticists who do not owe Jim a significant intellectual debt; none are unaware of his mastery of our field and of human interactions. For many of us, Crow and Kimura (1970) was an inspiring and elegant introduction to the mathematical models that form the foundation of population genetics theory. Crow instantiates the ideal of a cherished era when manners and dress were a sign of gentility. And no one who meets Jim is surprised to learn that he is an accomplished violist.
Jim has been an active member of the Genetics Society of America (GSA) since 1941. He was its president in 1960 and then president of the American Society of Human Genetics in 1963. He was co-editor-in-chief of this journal for 5 years, beginning in 1952. Jim envisioned and then executed the Perspectives section of Genetics from 1987 through 2008, commissioning (and writing when commissions were unfulfilled) articles that have been informative, insightful, and influential. He was awarded the GSA's Thomas Hunt Morgan Award for lifetime contributions to the field of genetics in 1978.
Few scientists have had as much impact on their field through their research, teaching, or service as Jim has. Hence, our series will include Perspectives articles that testify to Jim's extraordinary public and academic service and his legendary record as a mentor and colleague. Perspectives and Review articles will describe some of the scientific areas in which Jim has been most influential, including estimates of mutation rates, the evolutionary consequences of deleterious mutations, the evolution and maintenance of sexual reproduction and recombination, the mathematics and implications of genetic drift (including the neutral theory of molecular evolution), the genetics of departures from Mendelian segregation, and the genetics and evolution of insecticide resistance. We hope you—and Jim—will enjoy and be enriched by these essays.
Jim continues to enhance our field through his interactions with colleagues. We are happy to share our heartfelt appreciation of this lion of our field.
- Copyright © 2011 by the Genetics Society of America
Available freely online through the author-supported open access option.