The Genetics Society of America's (GSA) Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal honors researchers for lifetime achievement in genetics. The recipient of the 2018 Morgan Medal, Barbara J. Meyer of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of California, Berkeley, is recognized for her career-long, groundbreaking investigations of how chromosome behaviors are controlled. Meyer's work has revealed mechanisms of sex determination and dosage compensation in <i>Caenorhabditis elegans</i> that continue to serve as the foundation of diverse areas of study on chromosome structure and function today, nearly 40 years after she began her work on the topic.
I fell in love with Caenorhabditis elegans in the summer of '72. Our relationship was cemented four years later, 20 years ago now, by the publication of a paper in Genetics on C. elegans chromosome rearrangements (Herman et al. 1976). My pleasant assignment here is to describe the beginning of that work and to relate it to current worm cytogenetics and chromosome mechanics.