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Former MU professor's plant genetics work broke ground

George Rédei

COLUMBIA, Mo. — George (György) P. Rédei, formerly of Columbia, died Monday, Nov. 10, 2008, in Nashville, Tenn.

Dr. Rédei was born June 14, 1921, in Vienna, Austria, to Kalman and Margit Rédei. He lived in Hungary, where he finished his formal education, until 1956. He and his wife, Magdolna, moved to Columbia in 1957. He began teaching at MU that year.

At MU, Dr. Rédei researched the genetics and biology of Arabidopsis, a small mustard plant. He was the only person in the U.S. to work with the plant for about 20 years. Now, about 16,000 laboratories are pursuing research with Arabidopsis using his methods.He conducted his research in a cherished Curtis Hall office, which had been designed and occupied by Barbara McClintock, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983.

Dr. Rédei published approximately 250 papers, notes, letters, book chapters and books. His work appeared in journals including Science, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, The EMBO Journal, Genes and Development, Molecular and General Genetics, Biochemical Genetics and Annual Review of Genetics. Dr. Rédei remained at MU until he retired in 1991, but he continued teaching as a professor emeritus. He was a visiting professor at the Max-Planck-Institut in Cologne, Germany, and he taught for four years at the Eötvös Loránd University of Basic Sciences in Budapest, Hungary. Dr. Rédei was also a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. After he retired, Dr. Rédei continued to publish. His works include the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Genetics, Genomics and Proteomics, Genetics Manual, and a two-volume body of work titled the Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics, and Informatics.

In 2004, MU dedicated the Plant Growth Facilities section of the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center to Dr. Rédei.

Dr. Rédei is survived by his wife; one daughter, Mari Rédei Tenkhoff; one son-in-law, Kirk Tenkhoff; and three granddaughters, Paige, Grace and Anne Tenkhoff.

Memorials may be made to the George Rédei Plant Growth Facility in Life Sciences Center Fund, 401 Reynolds Alumni Center, Columbia, MO 65211, or to Alive Hospice Inc., 1718 Patterson St., Nashville, TN 37203.