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Jens Clausen (botanist) Biography, Life Story and Works

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 Who is Jens Clausen? Information on the botanist Jens Christian Clausen biography, life story and works.

Jens Clausen; (1891-1969 ) Danish-American botanist, who clarified relationships between and within species of higher plants. In particular, he studied the interaction of heredity and environment. His work influenced concepts underlying plant classification and breeding.


In the early 1920’s Clausen demonstrated varying degrees of genetic relationship between species and races of wild pansies (Viola), and thus helped to classify them. Meanwhile, Gote Turesson, a Swedish botanist, showed that wide-ranging species are normally composed of distinct ecological races, and H. M. Hall in California studied the differences between altitudinal forms of the same or closely related species.


Clausen joined the Hall group in 1931 and confirmed Turesson’s findings. He and his collaborators also showed that ecologic races differ widely in their capacity to survive in different climates, and that they vary in the degree to which they can be modified. These modifications are temporary and reversible and are limited in degree by heredity. He concluded that racial characteristics, including fitness for survival, are inherited through systems of partially linked genes. This provides for the evolution of new races and species through natural selection.


Clausen was born in North Eskilstrup, Denmark, on March 11, 1891. Educated in Denmark, he was a staff member in the Department of Plant Biology at the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Stanford, Calif., from 1931 to 1956.

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