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Folke K. Skoog

Folke Karl Skoog (July 15, 1908 – February 15, 2001) was a Swedish-born American plant physiologist who was a pioneer in the field of plant growth regulators, particularly cytokinins. Skoog was a recipient of the National Medal of Science.

Born in Halland, Sweden, Skoog emigrated to the United States during a trip to California in 1925, and was naturalized as a citizen almost a decade later. He competed, and finished sixth in heat 2, in the 1500 meter race during the 1932 Summer Olympics.[1] In 1936, he received his PhD in biology from Caltech for his work done with auxin, a plant hormone.

Skoog's professional career advanced significantly with his arrival at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1947. Carlos Miller discovered kinetin in 1954,[2] and benzyladenine and related compounds were later synthesized in Skoog's lab.

In 1962, Skoog and Toshio Murashige published what is probably the best-known paper in plant tissue culture; in a fruitless attempt to discover a yet-unknown plant growth regulator in tobacco juice for his doctoral thesis, Murashige and Skoog instead developed a greatly improved salt base for the sterile culture of tobacco. Now referred to as Murashige and Skoog medium, the final paper (Murashige, T. and Skoog, F. (1962) A revised medium for rapid growth and bioassays with tobacco tissue cultures. Physiol Plant 18: 100-127) is considered one of the most often-cited papers in biology. Now 50 years after the work, M&S salt base remains an essential component in plant tissue culture.

In 1970, Skoog was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.


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