Anne McLaren was a British scientist. McLaren spent her life in scientific study and research in developmental biology. Her work helped lead human in vitro fertilization (IVF). For her contribution to science, she has been honored with numerous accolades including a DBE and appointment as an officer of the Royal Society.
Google celebrated her 94th birthday with a Google Doodle on 26 April 2021.
What is Anne McLaren Famous For?
- Her work helped lead to human in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Where is Anne McLaren From?
Anne McLaren was born on 26 April 1927. Her birth name is Anne Laura Dorinthea McLaren. Her birth place is in London in England. She held British nationality. She was born to father Sir Henry McLaren, 2nd Baron Aberconway, and mother Christabel Mary Melville MacNaghten. She grew up in London. After the outbreak of World War II, her family moved to their estate at Bodnant, North Wales.
About her educational background, she completed her DPhil in 1952. She studied zoology at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She later obtained MA. Researching mite infestation of Drosophila under J.B.S. Haldane, she continued her post-graduate studies at University College London from 1949, first under Peter Medawar on the genetics of rabbits and then on neurotropic murine viruses under Kingsley Sanders.
Anne McLaren Career
- After McLaren married Donald Michie, they worked together at University College London from 1952 to 1955.
- They later worked at the Royal Veterinary College, on the variation in the number of lumbar vertebrae in mice as a function of the maternal environment.
- She later took up research on fertility in mice, including superovulation and superpregnancy.
- She published a landmark Nature paper with John D. Biggers in 1958. She reported the first successful development and birth of mice fertilized in vitro in her paper.
- Her paper was called “one of the most significant papers in the history of reproductive biology and medicine.”
- Following her divorce with husband in 1959, McLaren moved to the Institute of Animal Genetics in Edinburgh to continue her research.
- She later spent 15 years at the Institute of Animal Genetics from 1959 to 1974.
- There, she studied a variety of topics related to fertility, development, and epigenetics, including the development of mouse embryonic transfer, immunocontraception, and the skeletal characteristics of chimerae.
- McLaren left Edinburgh in 1974 to become the Director of the MRC Mammalian Development Unit in London.
- She retired from the Unit in 1992.
- She moved to Cambridge and joined the Wellcome/CRC Institute, later the Gurdon Institute.
- In 1991, she was made a Fellow-Commoner of Christ’s College, Cambridge.
- She was a member of the committee established to inquire into the technologies of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryology. It later produced the Warnock Report.
- She was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics from 1991 to 2000.
- She was one of the co-founders of the Frozen Ark project in 2004. The project’s aim is “Saving the DNA and viable cells of the world’s endangered species.”
- She became a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain in her later life. Her association with the party made travel to the USA difficult for a while.
- For her contribution to science, she has been honored with several awards and honors.
- She was created a DBE in 1993.
- She was awarded the Japan Prize with Andrzej K. Tarkowski in 2002 for their contributions to developmental biology.
- She was awarded the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology in 2007.
- She held the position of Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society from 1991 to 1993.
- She held the position of Vice-President of the Royal Society from 1993 to 1996.
- She was the first female officer in the society’s 330-year history.
- She was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 1986 for her pioneering work on fertility.
- She presented the Ellison-Cliffe Lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine in 1989.
- She was the Fullerian Professor of Physiology at the Royal Institution from 1990 to 1995.
- She was president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science from 1993 to 1994.
- She was made a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1998.
Anne McLaren Husband
Anne McLaren was married to Dr. Donald Michie. They were classmates. They got married on 6 October 1952. The couple shared three children together, daughters Susan Michie and Caroline Michie and a son Jonathan Michie.
The couple divorced in 1959 and they remained on good terms. McLaren raised her children as a singer parent.
Anne McLaren Death
Anne McLaren died in a car accident on 7 July 2007. She died along with her former husband Donald Michie in a car crash when their car left the M11 motorway as they traveled from Cambridge to London. She died aged 80 and her former husband was 83.
Did You Know?
- As a child, she appeared in the 1936 film version of H.G. Wells’ novel Things to Come.
- She was a strong advocate for government assistance towards childcare.
- Her Papers are housed at the British Library and can be accessed through the British Library catalog.
- There is a fund in the name of Anne McLaren for the encouragement of scientific study.
- Cambridge University’s Anne McLaren Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine was opened at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus in 2009.
- Google celebrated her 94th birthday with a Google Doodle on 26 April 2021.