In 1919, R.A.Fisher was hired to discover whether the accumulated records of some 70 years of agricultural research at Rothamsted would yield more information than had been possible in the absence of a qualified statistician. It never fails to impress biology students - and indeed statiticians - to learn, or be reminded - that the Analysis of Variance, arguably the most powerful technique in statistical analysis, was invented by Fisher to analyze field experiments, some of which used different varieties of wheat, beans, clovers, grasses, and mangel wurzels. The new techniques were soon recognized to be of fundamental importance for determing the best designs for experiments in basic research and Fisher, himself, used them to lay the foundation of Biometrical Genetics. Similarly, much research on horticultural plants at the John Innes Horticultural Institution yielded fundamental genetical principles. Led by C.D.Darlington, mitosis and meiosis were sorted out; breeding work with cherries and primroses forced study of the gametophytic and sporophytic imcompatibility systems; attempts to breed a yellow sweetpea were partly behind research on the genetics and chemistry of flower pigments, this last being pioneering work in chemotaxonomy and genecology. The 'John Innes' formulae for seeding and potting composts were invented to overcome the inconsistent germination of seeds and establisment of young plants. In 1944, Fisher returned to Cambridge determined to start the first undergraduate degree in Genetics in the UK. During his time there the system of tristyly in Lythrum salicaria was clarified both theoretically and by breeding work in Fisher's own garden; the Hfr mating type in E. coli was discovered (by L. L.Cavalli-Sforza) and the journal Heredity was founded by Fisher and Darlington - using their own money to launch it. In the Botany School, initially by D. G.Catcheside, the mating systems, mechanisims of recombination, gene conversion and biochemical genetics of fungi were being studied.

Key words: British genetics, C. D. Darlington, Cambridge, John Innes, R. A. Fisher, Rothamstead