As you can see, Blakeslee made a promising beginning, doing research on fungi, but unfortunately strayed into the world of plants. Species of Mucorineae produce huge, warty spores called zygospores, which is why that phylum of the fungi is called Zygomycetes. Blakeslee showed that his different cultures of Mucorineae could be separated into two groups, which he called + and -, as there was no visible difference between them. Any member of the + group would form zygospores with any member of the - group, but not with any other member of the + group; and likewise any member of the - group would form zygospores with any member of the + group, but not with any other member of the - group. This demonstrated the existence of "sexes" in the Mucors (although we now call them mating types) and established once and for all that sex does occur in the fungi.
If you'll look below, you'll see that Thaxter named a genus after him only ten years after that dissertation.
His achievements outside of fungi are diverse: he bred one of the first hybrid pines during his short appointment at Connecticut Agricultural College; he showed that the ability to perceive certain tastes and smells is inherited; he found mutants of Datura that had unusual numbers of chromosomes, and found a way to induce this condition in part of the Datura embryo, producing an adult plant with partially strange chromosome numbers, enabling him to track which parts of the mature plant came from which part of the embryo. Once he discovered all the fun that was to be had with Datura, he did little further work on fungi.
He seems to have been a convivial individual and for instance formed a social club for the older, retired faculty and staff while at Smith College, which he called the OBND (Out But Not Down) club.
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