Sewell Wright, born 21 Dec 1889; died 3 Mar 1988.
American geneticist, one of the founders of modern theoretical population genetics. He researched the effects of inbreeding and crossbreeding with guinea pigs, and later on the effects of gene action on inherited characteristics. He adopted statistical techniques to develop evolutionary theory. Wright is best known for his concept of genetic drift, called the Sewell Wright effect – that when small populations of a species are isolated, out of pure chance the few individuals who carry certain relatively rare genes may fail to transmit them. The genes may therefore disappear and their loss may lead to the emergence of new species, although natural selection has played no part in the process.
- See his entry at Wikipedia
- His classic 1932 paper,“The roles of mutation, inbreeding, crossbreeding and selection in evolution” (Proceedings of the 6th International Congress of Genetics 1: 356–366.)
- A biography and an obituary can be found at the Notable American Unitarians site.
- And see this biography of his ancestor, Judge Samuel Sewall of the Salem Witch Trials.