Antonio de Zulueta y Escolano
(Barcelona, 1885 - Madrid, 1971)

Antonio de Zulueta y EscolanoAntonio de Zulueta y Escolano studied natural sciences at the Universities of Madrid, Barcelona and Paris, and graduated in Madrid in 1909. The following year, he obtained a diploma at the Sorbonne, and a Ph.D. from the University of Madrid. Between December 1910 and April 1911, he conducted research at the Institut für Krankheiten Infektions in Berlin, on the reproduction of the ciliated protozoa Nytothemus baltarum, under Professor Max Hartmann’s supervision. By a Royal decree of 3 May 1911, he had been appointed acting curator in the Section of Osteozoology in the Museum of Natural Sciences, and he had to return to Madrid.

The Museum of Natural Sciences was linked to the Junta para Ampliación de Estudios (JAE). Zulueta taught a seminar in Biology to students who would study abroad. The focus was their basic training in the cytological and embryological techniques. This seminar was the embryo of the Biology Laboratory of the Museum of Natural Sciences. Zulueta headed this laboratory since its creation in 1913 until his death, fifty-eight years later.

Zulueta introduced genetic research in Spain. He obtained his greatest accomplishment in this field from 1919, when he focused his research on biological heredity. Using the insect Phytodecta variabilis, he demonstrated by microscopic examination the existence of genes on the Y chromosome of the beetle and, therefore, sex-linked inheritance.

After 1939, neither Zulueta’s activities nor the Biology Laboratory were the same. Although, in theory, the laboratory continued to exist within the structure of the Museum of Natural Sciences, in fact, it did not have the resources to conduct research.

Antonio de Zulueta‘s family bequeathed his archives to the Residencia de Estudiantes (March 2000).

Alberto Gomis
Source: El laboratorio de España. La Junta para Ampliación de Estudios e Investigaciones Científicas (1907-1939), catalog.