Correspondence relating to patents and Pontecorvo's research work on Aspergillus

Scope and Content

This series contains correspondence and papers all relating to Pontecorvo's research work on heterokaryosis, diploid formation, mitotic segregation, and haploidization or, as Pontecorvo liked to call it, "Parasexual cycle genetics". His discovery that the parasexual cycle caused genetic re-assortment without sexual reproduction led to him filing two patents, with Joseph Alan Roper and Giuseppe Sermonti as co-inventors.

Pontecorvo describes his two patents as follows "One deals with the technique and its validity as shown by the comparison of genetics analysis by means of sexual reproduction and by means of somatic recombination in A. nidulans". He goes on to say "the other deals with the first successful application of the technique to an asexual species of industrial importance, A. niger"(see UGC 198/3/1/24). Thus, in theory if not in practice, genetic analysis and the breeding of better-yielding production strains of such organisms could proceed on a precise, scientific basis. Aspergillus nidulans has been of continuing value and "Glasgow" strains are in research use worldwide.

The series also contains legal documentation and paperwork relating to the patent application and correspondence between Pontecorvo and various members of the National Research Development Corporation.


Pontecorvo had originally arranged these papers into three files and they have been kept in this original order. Arranged in reverse chronological order.