Frans Alfons Janssens
Frans Alfons Janssens (Sint-Niklaas 23 July 1865 - Wichelen, 8 October 1924) was Catholic priest and the discoverer of crossing-over of genes during meiosis, which he called 'chiasmatypie'. His work was continued by the Nobel Prize winner Thomas Hunt Morgan to develop the theory of genetic linkage.
Frans Janssens was the son of Theodoor Janssens, a politician. He was ordained as a priest in 1886 and obtained a PhD in Natural Science with the highest honors and a scholarship to attend many prestigious foreign laboratories. Janssens then worked with Professor Kjeldahl at the Hansen Institute Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen and was a teacher at the St. Lawrence Brewery School in Ghent. In 1896, he became a professor at the Faculty of Sciences for the Catholic University of Leuven, as a chair in microscopy and later in cytology, succeeding Jean-Baptiste Carnoy in the chair. Janssens was also president of the Societé Belge de Biologie and a Canon (priest) at the Sint-Baafskathedraal in Ghent.
In 1953, the Catholic University of Leuven founded the 'F.A.Janssens Genetics Laboratory', in recognition for the scientific merits of Frans Alfons Janssens. The laboratory is known as the 'Center for Microbial and Plant Genetics'.
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