Wilson, Edmund Beecher, 1856–1939, American zoologist, b. Geneva, Ill., grad. Yale (Ph.B., 1878), Johns Hopkins (Ph.D., 1881). He taught at Bryn Mawr (1885–91) and at Columbia (1891–1928), where he initiated research in genetics and attracted many followers. His principal work was on the function of the cell in heredity and on the role of the chromosomes (including the significance of the sex chromosome). He also studied embryology and experimental morphology. His works include The Cell in Development and Heredity (1896, 3d ed. 1925) and The Physical Basis of Life (1923).