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Google Honors American Scientist Nettie Stevens


Google's Doodle of American geneticist and biologist Nettie Stevens, in honor of her 155th birthday

Google's Doodle of American geneticist and biologist Nettie Stevens, in honor of her 155th birthday

This is What’s Trending Today…

The Internet search engine Google celebrated a woman scientist on Thursday.

Her name might not be world-famous. But on July 7, on what would have been her 155th birthday, she was a trending topic on social media.

Nettie Stevens studied genetic material. The American geneticist and biologist made an important scientific discovery in 1905. She found that the X and Y chromosomes decide the sex of a living organism.

Most human cells have 46 chromosomes. Each one is an extremely small line of chemicals with genes.

On Thursday, Stevens’ likeness appeared on Google’s American homepage in the form of a Google Doodle. The picture led to a discussion about Nettie Stevens on social media.​

Throughout history, scientists and many other people had debated how the sex of a human being - and other animals - is decided. In the 1800s, for example, many Europeans believed that the food a mother ate during pregnancy helped determine the sex of her baby.

But Stevens’ research proved that X and Y chromosomes are the deciding factor.

Her scientific research was groundbreaking. Yet she was not always given credit for the discovery. Another scientist, Edmund Beecher Wilson, found similar results at around the same time. He was most often credited with the discovery.

But on Thursday, it was all about Nettie Stevens. Her name was a trending topic on Twitter.

One Twitter user wrote, “I've never heard of Nettie Stevens before today. Thank you Google Doodle for giving her appropriate attention and respect.”

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I’m Dan Friedell.

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Words in This Story

chromosome n. the part of a cell that contains the genes which control how an animal or plant grows and what it becomes

groundbreaking adj. introducing new ideas or methods

appropriateadj. right or suited for some purpose or situation​

topicn. a subject or issue

factor n. one of the things that causes a result

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