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Fellows Directory

Malcolm Ferguson-Smith

Professor Malcolm Ferguson-Smith FMedSci FRS


Elected: 1983


Malcolm Ferguson-Smith’s significant contributions to human genetics and cytogenetics range from early studies applying the sex chromatin method to the analysis of intersexual states, to genome mapping through the use of chromosome rearrangements. Malcolm was the first to report the now familiar phenomenon of satellite association, the 48 XXXY karyotype, and the specificity of location of secondary constrictions in the human chromosome set. His contributions to the knowledge of human meiosis have been of the highest quality and he was the first to succeed in identifying the characteristic cross configurations expected at pachytene in subjects heterozygous for a reciprocal translocation. Malcolm is also the author of a provocative hypothesis concerning the location of the basic genetic lesion in Turner’s syndrome, the genetic causation of XX masculinity and true hermaphroditism (by transference of a masculinising segment of Y to the X chromosome), and the nonrandom distribution of break points in spontaneous structural rearrangements. He has been a pioneer of methods for prenatal diagnosis of genetic disease.

Professional positions

Emeritus Professor of Pathology, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Comparative genomics. Karyotype evolution, Flow sorting of chromosomes, Molecular cytogenetics, Sex determination