Beadle, George Wells, 1903–89, American geneticist, b. Wahoo, Nebr., grad. Univ. of Nebraska (B.S., 1926; M.S., 1927), Ph.D. Cornell, 1931. Beadle taught (1931–36) biology at the California Institute of Technology, where he also began genetic research on the fruit fly, Drosophila, in T. H. Morgan's laboratory. He was later chairman (1946–61) of the biology department there, and in 1961 he became chancellor of the Univ. of Chicago. Beadle shared with Joshua Lederberg and E. L. Tatum the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physiology for work with Tatum on the bread mold Neurospora crassa, which showed that genes control the cell's production of enzymes and thus the basic chemistry of the cell.
See G. Beadle and M. Beadle, The Language of Life (1966).