Edouard van Beneden

cytologist, embryologist, marine biologist, professor
(Redirected from Edouard Van Beneden)

Edouard Joseph Marie Van Beneden (Leuven, 5 March 1846 – Liège, 28 April 1910), cytologist and marine biologist. He was professor of zoology at the University of Liège.[1] He contributed to cytology and genetics by his work on the roundworm Ascaris. In this work he discovered how chromosomes combined during meiosis, during the production of gametes.[2]

Edouard van Beneden

Beneden discovered, with Walther Flemming and Eduard Strasburger, the essential facts of mitosis. In contrast to meiosis, the double (diploid) set of chromosomes in daughter cells is identical to those in the parent cells. Excepting rare accidents, there is no change in the genetic apparatus. In meiosis, only one set of chromosomes ends up in each gamete, a condition called haploid.


Van Beneden's father was also a well-known biologist. Pierre-Joseph van Beneden (1809–1894) introduced two important terms into evolutionary biology and ecology: mutualism and commensalism.[3]


  1. Hamoir, G (1986). "Edouard van Beneden, biologist and stoic". Revue médicale de Liège. 41 (20): 779–85. PMID 3541105. Unknown parameter |quotes= ignored (help)
  2. Hamoir, G (1992). "The discovery of meiosis by E. van Beneden, a breakthrough in the morphological phase of heredity". Int. J. Dev. Biol. 36 (1): 9–15. PMID 1627480. Unknown parameter |quotes= ignored (help)
  3. Boucher D.H. 1985. The idea of mutualism, past and future. In D.H. Boucher (ed) The biology of mutualism: ecology and evolution. Oxford University Press. 1–28