Barbara McClintock was born to a family with little money, and grew up in Connecticut and New York. Her interest in science and research was viewed with great skepticism and disapproval, since her family believed that it was more important for her to get married. Despite this, with her father’s support, McClintock began studying at Cornell. She never married and decided to dedicate her life to science and research–she realized the importance of what she had achieved, and her role as an example for other women.
Barbara McClintock studied corn’s hereditary characteristics, and how these characteristics are genetically passed down. She connected this to changes in the chromosomes of plants. McClintock proved that genetic elements can sometimes change position on a chromosome and that this causes nearby genes to become active or inactive.