From apathy to apogee
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Hardly anyone believed George Redei's research mattered - until it transformed plant science. "An old-school scientist fills his university lab and office with columns of clay-potted plants lit by lines of homemade lamps. For decades, the geneticist works virtually alone, mutating and crossbreeding his weeds, convinced their relatively simple genomes are the best avenue for understanding the genetics of higher-order plants. His work garners little interest from fellow scientists, even less from science funding agencies. But he refuses to quit. By the 1980s, molecular biologists begin to recognize Amhidopsis thalia"a as a model organism for studying all flowering plants, including corn and wheat. At his death in 2008, at age 87, with more than 16,000 laboratories using Arabidopsis for research, George Redei, professor emeritus of genetics, is heralded as a pioneer of the field."