Tomoko Ohta
Ohta has spent her life studying molecular evolution, and has been honored with being an incredible women scientist for her time.

G. Ledyard Stebbins
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1974 - "Lucy" - Australopithecus


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Tomoko Ohta was born September 7, 1933 in Japan where she first started going to school. She first started studying at Tokyo University learning about Agriculture, and then she left to go toYokohama to study at Hitoshi Kihara’s Institute where she began her career to be a world-class geneticist. She used this practice from Tokohama to get a scholarship for a Ph. D to continue studying at North Carolina State University under the supervision of Ken Kojima.

In 1967, after Ohta finished her Ph. D she returned to Japan to visit Motoo Kimura at Japan’s National Institute of Genetics (NIG) in the hope of finding a job. Kimura was in the process of completing his research for neutral theory to present it at the domestic genetics society meeting. Ohta jumped right into the project to help finish it, and even though she had many job offers over the years she remained at NIG.

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Since then, Ohta has won many awards over the years while working at NIG. In April, 1984 Tomoko Ohta became a Full time Professor in the Department of Population Genetics at NIG. In 1992, Ohta’s theory was contrary to neo- Darwinism which she believed also needed some revision and this caused some controversy. Ohta thought that evolutionary change is hard to connect with gene frequency. Progression in molecular biology also made it possible to find out that genetic information is stored in linear sequences in the DNA, and is passed down from generation to generation.