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Gustave Malécot

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Gustave Malécot
Born(1911-12-28)28 December 1911
DiedNovember 1998 (1998-12) (aged 86)
Fayence, Var, France
Alma materÉcole Normale Supérieure, Paris
Known forWork on Population genetics
Scientific career
InstitutionsLycée de Saint-Étienne
Université de Montpellier
Université de Lyon
Doctoral advisorGeorge Darmois

Gustave Malécot (28 December 1911 – November 1998) was a French mathematician whose work on heredity had a strong influence on population genetics.


Malécot grew up in L'Horme, a small village near St. Étienne in the Loire département, the son of a mine engineer.

In 1935, Malécot obtained a degree in mathematics from the École Normale Supérieure, Paris. He then went on to do a PhD under George Darmois and completed that in 1939. His work focused on R.A. Fisher's 1918 article The Correlation Between Relatives on the Supposition of Mendelian Inheritance.

Between 1940 and 1942, with France under Nazi German occupation, Malécot taught mathematics at the Lyceé de Saint-Étienne. In 1942 he was appointed maître de conférence (lecturer) Université de Montpellier. In 1945 he joined the Université de Lyon, becoming professor of applied mathematics in 1946, a position he held until his retirement in 1981.

Malécot's Coancestry Coefficient, a measure of genetic similarity, still bears his name.


  • Gustave Malécot, The mathematics of heredity, Freeman & Co 1969, ISBN 0-7167-0678-4 (translated from the French edition, 1948)


  • Epperson, Bryan K. (1999). Gustave Malécot, 1911–1998: Population Genetics Founding Father. Genetics 152, 477-484. link to article
  • Nagylaki, Thomas (1989). Gustave Malécot and the transition from classical to modern population genetics. Genetics 122, 253–268. link to article
  • Slatkin, Montgomery & Veuille, Michel (Eds.) (2002). Modern developments in theoretical population genetics: the legacy of Gustave Malécot. Oxford : Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-859963-3.

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