Concept

Esther Lederberg

Summary
Esther Miriam Zimmer Lederberg (December 18, 1922 – November 11, 2006) was an American microbiologist and a pioneer of bacterial genetics. She discovered the bacterial virus λ and the bacterial fertility factor F, devised the first implementation of replica plating, and furthered the understanding of the transfer of genes between bacteria by specialized transduction. Lederberg also founded and directed the now-defunct Plasmid Reference Center at Stanford University, where she maintained, named, and distributed plasmids of many types, including those coding for antibiotic resistance, heavy metal resistance, virulence, conjugation, colicins, transposons, and other unknown factors. As a woman in a male-dominated field and the wife of Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg, Esther Lederberg struggled for professional recognition. Despite her foundational discoveries in the field of microbiology, she was never offered a tenured position at a university. Textbooks often ignore her work and
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