Conrad Hal Waddington, an outstanding English biologist, one of the founders of Systems Biology, and president of the International Union of Biological Sciences (1961-1967), was born on November 8, 1905. Systems biology studies complex interactions in living systems. This interdisciplinary science of life lies at the intersection of biology and systems theory.

The main works of the scientist relate to the field of embryology, evolutionary genetics, theoretical biology, but are not limited to them. 

From 1933 to 1945, Waddington taught Embryology at the University of Cambridge, and in 1946 he became professor of Animal Genetics at the University of Edinburgh. A year later the scientist became a member of the Royal Society of London, and in 1960 – an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1972, Waddington founded Center for Human Ecology.

Among other things, it was Conrad Waddington who helped develop such a science as epigenetics in the middle of the 20th century. The English biologist was the first to formulate such a concept as an epigenetic landscape. The scientist used this term as a conceptual model of how genes can interact with their environment when forming a phenotype (a set of external and internal characteristics of the organism acquired as a result of individual development). Later on, the work in this field was continued and today epigenetics tells us that we are all born with a genome that does not change during our lives, yet the activity of certain genes does. And we can amplify or weaken these epigenetic influences, particularly by using medication.

Waddington first discovered such a biological mechanism as genetic assimilation and suggested possible operating principles of this mechanism.

The scientist died on September 26, 1975, at the age of 69.

Based on open sources.

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