Howard Borden Newcombe

Howard Borden Newcombe, geneticist (born 19 September 1914 in Kentville, NS; died 14 February 2005 in Deep River, ON).

Howard Borden Newcombe, geneticist (born 19 September 1914 in Kentville, NS; died 14 February 2005 in Deep River, ON). After studying at Acadia and McGill and wartime service in the Royal Navy, Newcombe worked with M. Demerc at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY. In 1947 he moved to the Chalk River Laboratory of Atomic Energy of Canada LTD. In 1949 he provided direct proof for the occurrence of spontaneous, undirected mutations in bacteria. This work eliminated the last vestiges of Lamarckism from biology and contributed greatly to the subsequent explosive development of molecular genetics.

In 1957 he turned his attention to vital statistics and health records for analytical studies in demographic genetics and was head of the Population Research Branch at AECL until retirment in 1979, where he pioneered computer-assisted "record linkage" techniques in epidemiology. He was a founder of the Genetics Society of Canada and in 1963 was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.