Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Neel, James Van Gundia

US physician and human geneticist at Ann Arbor; MD and PhD from the University of Rochester (NY); he was a student of geneticist Curt Stern. Neel was acting Director of Field Studies for the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC, 1947-8); radiation effects were a focus of much of his career. He later worked for several years among the Xavante of Brazil and the Yanomamö of Venezuela. Among his colleagues in Venezuela was Napoleon Chagnon. Neel was the author of a much-cited (and debated) thrifty genotype hypothesis concerning diabetes among the Pima. Neel served on the editorial board of 15 journals, was a member of 12 professional societies, and was the recipient of numerous career achievement awards. He published over 400 articles and wrote or participated in a dozen books. Co-author (with W. J. Schull) of The Effect of Exposure to the Atomic Bomb on Pregnancy Termination in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1956, Washington, DC); author of Physician to the Gene Pool (1994).

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