Elected FRS 1969
Professor John Fincham was one of the UK's leading geneticists, with a remarkably broad knowledge of the subject across all the biological kingdoms. He became an international leader through being at the forefront of microbial genetics as some of the founding principles of the relationships between gene structure, activity and enzyme functions were being uncovered. He spearheaded discoveries from the one gene–one enzyme concept, through genetic complementation, protein structure and recombination. Much of his experimental microbial research centred on the genetic and enzyme variants of glutamate dehydrogenase in the fungus Neurospora. He also brought his outstanding mind and comprehensive interest in genetics to the then obscure features of unstable genes and transposable elements in plants. His standing was recognized by holding prestigious chairs in Leeds, Edinburgh and Cambridge universities. He was a talented writer, producing several textbooks and especially the leading text Fungal genetics. He was also a practitioner and lover of sports and in his early career was politically active. His successes in life made him an extraordinarily talented man who achieved much as a leader in genetics in the UK and internationally.