Mary-Lou Pardue

Mary-Lou Pardue

Professor Emerita

Mary-Lou Pardue studied fruit fly chromosomes to better understand chromosome replication, cell division, and related cellular structures.


  • PhD 1970, Yale University
  • BS, 1950, Biology, College of William and Mary

Research Summary

Mary Lou Pardue studied the ends of chromosomes — complex, dynamic nucleoprotein structures formed on long arrays of repeated DNA sequences, known as telomeres. She analyzed Drosophila telomeres, and discovered that they are maintained by special transposable elements called retrotransposons. The Drosophila telomeric retrotransposons are unusual transposable elements, and provide a link between telomeres and transposable elements that raises interesting questions about the evolution of both eukaryotic chromosomes and transposable elements. Mary-Lou Pardue is no longer accepting students.


  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow, 1985
  • National Academy of Sciences, Member, 1983

Key Publications

  1. Addition of telomere-associated HeT DNA sequences "heals" broken chromosome ends in Drosophila. Biessmann, H, Mason, JM, Ferry, K, d'Hulst, M, Valgeirsdottir, K, Traverse, KL, Pardue, ML. 1990. Cell 61, 663-73.
  2. Telomere regions in Drosophila share complex DNA sequences with pericentric heterochromatin. Young, BS, Pession, A, Traverse, KL, French, C, Pardue, ML. 1983. Cell 34, 85-94.
  3. Translational control of protein synthesis in response to heat shock in D. melanogaster cells. Storti, RV, Scott, MP, Rich, A, Pardue, ML. 1980. Cell 22, 825-34.
  4. Cross-linking of DNA with trimethylpsoralen is a probe for chromatin structure. Cech, T, Pardue, ML. 1977. Cell 11, 631-40.
  5. Chromosomal localization of mouse satellite DNA. Pardue, ML, Gall, JG. 1970. Science 168, 1356-8.
    doi: 10.1126/science.168.3937.1356PMID:5462793
  6. Formation and detection of RNA-DNA hybrid molecules in cytological preparations. Gall, JG, Pardue, ML. 1969. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 63, 378-83.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.63.2.378PMID:4895535
Photo credit: Linda Earle