Wilhelm Johannsen

Danish botanist (1857-1927)

Wilhelm Johannsen (3 February 1857 – 11 November 1927) invented the term "gene". He was a Danish pharmacist, botanist, plant physiologist, and geneticist.

Wilhelm Ludvig Johannsen
Born(1857-02-03)3 February 1857
Died11 November 1927(1927-11-11) (aged 70)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Alma materUniversity of Copenhagen
Known forproving the constancy of the genome
Coining gene, genotype and phenotype
Scientific career
Plant physiology
InstitutionsUniversity of Copenhagen

He is best known for coining the terms gene, phenotype and genotype, and for his 1903 "pure line" experiments in genetics.[1]


  1. Roll-Hansen, Nils 1979. The genotype theory of Wilhelm Johannsen and its relation to plant breeding and the study of evolution. Centaurus 22.