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Biographical Memoirs: Volume 91
NORMAN HENRY GILES
August 6, 1915–October 16, 2006
BY MARY E. CASE AND FREDERICK J. DE SERRES
NORMAN GILES WAS RECOGNIZED as a pioneer in the fields of radiation cytology and fungal genetics. His early studies (1939-1955) were on microsporogenesis and chromosome aberrations in Tradescantia. His first use of Neurospora crassa as an experimental organism was in reversion analyses of inositol mutants. This followed the work of Beadle and Tatum, who dealt with reversion of nutritional mutants. Subsequently, a number of important papers by Giles followed, including contributions on intragenic complementation, gene conversion, and analysis of gene clusters. He made particularly significant contributions to our molecular understanding of regulation of the genes of biochemical pathways in microorganisms, especially Neurospora crassa.
Norman was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on August 6, 1915, to Norman H. Giles Sr., a realtor, and Alice Guerard Giles, a registered nurse. Early on, he exhibited an interest in natural history, and at the age of 11, in 1926, he became a charter member of the Georgia Botanical Society. However, his major interest then was in birds, an interest fostered by his mother, who maintained a bird feeder shelf. In 1936 Norman and his birding companion Don Eyles initiated the publication of a quarterly journal devoted to ornithology in Georgia, The Oriole. He was a charter member of the