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Saturday, February 4, 2023

The inspirational story of Anne Mclaren’s life: Early Life, Education, Achievements, and Death

Have you ever wanted something to happen so bad you practically stayed up all night to pray for a miracle? What hurt, even more, is that even though you want something to happen even. If you had to bet your life on the line, you just couldn’t do anything to make that happen. Anne Mclaren is one such person. A scientist best known as a famous geneticist whose research led to the development of IVF.

This is where science comes in. To make human lives easier by devoting their whole lives to one experiment is how passionate scientists can get to provide an easier lifestyle to those around them. Thanks to these scientists, the undividable atom was found to have a whole universe within, and much more.

This was a dream come true for elderly and infected couples who were struggling to have children. Who is this medical genius and how did she conclude this research? Read to find out.

The early life of Anne Mclaren

Dame Anne Laura Dorinthea McLaren was born in London on 26 April 1927. She grew up in London and Bodnar, all the while studying zoology at Lady Margaret Hills, Oxford.

Her parents were Henry McLaren and Christabel McNaughten. In the same year she received her doctoral degree from the University of Oxford, she married Donald Michie, a fellow researcher.

Anne McLaren’s education and early achievements

After receiving a Ph.D. in zoology in 1952, Anne along with her husband, Donald Michie, started postgraduate research on developmental biology and how the embryonic skeletal mechanism developed. She was supervised by two prominent biologists of the time named J. B. S Haldane and Peter Medawar.

Her thesis topic concerned murine neurotropic viruses, which she studied under Kingsley Sanders. She and Donald worked together at University College London (1952-1955) and Royal Veterinary College (1955-1959). During this time, the couple studied the problems of nature and nurture in maternal environments.

The main subject focus Anne and Donald studied at that time were mice. Studying closely, she and Donald had successfully grown mouse embryos in vitro, which they put into female mice to reproduce. Fortunately, the experiment was a success and the female mice gave birth to healthy babies. On that basis, Anne and her husband published a landmark paper in the journal Nature, in which their experiments and findings were listed.

Fruitful achievements of Anne McLaren’s further studies

Not long after the research on mice, Anne and Donald got divorced in 1959. Even though they both stayed in the same city, Anne continued to study mammalian fertility, embryo transfer techniques, immunocontraception, and the mixing of early embryos on her own. Her research led to the publication of a book on chimeras in 1976 at the University of Edinburgh, which is considered a classic in its field to date.

Her achievements do not end here. In 1974, Anne McLaren became the director of the Medical Research Council mammalian development unit at the University College London. This gave rise to her interest in germ cells and soma of mammals (including humans) and she published another book on this topic in 1980.

After her unavoidable retirement in 1992, Anne became the principal research associate at the Welcome Trust Cancer Research Gurdon UK institute in Cambridge. Till the time of her death, she held that position.

How did her achievements help humans?

Anne McLaren was the one who lead a way to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). This was a turning point for humans and here is why.

What is IVF?

Also known as test tube conception, IVF is a medical procedure in which mature egg cells are extracted from a woman, fertilized with sperm, and then placed back into the woman or any other who wishes to bear children.

The proposal and concept were put forward by Anne McLaren. Even though she practiced the procedure on mice, and the practice took place on many other animals through time, the first human child born through IVF was due to the efforts of gynecologists Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards in 1978.

Thanks to the seeds sowed by Anne McLaren, many elderly couples are now able to have children through this medical procedure.

The death of Anne McLaren

Life is not a bed of roses and all things must come to an end, either good or bad. The same was the case with Anne McLaren who died in a deadly car crash on 7 July 2007. She along with her ex-husband were traveling from Cambridge to London through the M11 motorway when the crash happened, killing the once married couple.

Even though Anne was no more in this world, her research and findings were more than enough to carry on her name till the end of time. Still the principal research associate at the Welcome Trust Cancer Research Gurdon UK institute in Cambridge, Anne McLaren was an author of nearly 330 research papers at the time of her death.

Some unknown facts about Anne McLaren

  • Anne was very humble and hospitable. Researchers who visited London often stayed at her place and she was always kind to them.
  • While addressing students who brought their research proposals to Anne, she was always humble and listened to what the student had to say. Only after carefully listening would she suggest further perfections for the study.
  • Anne was a great communicator. Being a natural on television, she was often invited to speak at meetings throughout the world. She was also once interviewed by philosopher Bertrand Russell.
  • Anne didn’t believe in using big words to make her proposal and achievements sound mighty. She believed in explaining science as simply as possible so everyone around was able to understand.

Acknowledgments

Science has made human life much easier. Thanks to medical geniuses, fatal diseases such as cancer and Corona Virus do not seem as scary as they once were. Cures to every deadly illness have been found, out of which embryos through IVF is one, proposed by Anne McLaren.

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