Dieter Mettin, retired director of the Central Institute of Genetics and Crop Plant Research of Academy of Sciences, Gatersleben (Germany), died on 25 August, 2004, after long cancer illness at his home in Naumburg (Germany).
Dr. Mettin was born in Berlin (Germany) 1 February, 1932. He attended Berlin Eosander Junior College from 1942 to 1943, Eisleben Martin Luther Gymnasium 1943 to 1950, Salzmuende Agricultural College from 1950 to 1952, and Halle-Wittenberg Martin Luther University from 1952 to 1955, where he obtained a M.Sc. degree in Agricultural Sciences. Dr. Mettin obtained his Ph.D. degree from Martin Luther University in 1961 with a major in Plant Breeding and Genetics under the supervisor, Prof. Dr. H. Stubbe (Thesis: Genetic and cytological studies in the genus Vicia). He was awarded a Dr.Sc. degree from that institution in 1977 (Thesis: Selection, identification and genetic utilization of aneuploids in hexaploid winter wheat, Triticum aestivum L.).
Dieter Mettin served as Instructor of Agriculture in M.T.S. Teuchern (Germany) from 1955-56, and as Junior Assistant at the Institute of Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben (German Academy of Sciences) in 1956-61. In the autumn of 1961, he moved to the Institute of Plant Breeding of Martin Luther University Halle. He began his professional career after graduation as Assistant Professor at the Institute of Plant Breeding, Hohenthurm (Germany). In 1968, he was appointed as Reader of Cytogenetics in Plant Breeding, and in 1977, as Full Professor of Plant Breeding. In 1983, Prof. Mettin accepted a call as Director of the Central Institute of Genetics and Crop Plant Research Gatersleben, from which he retired in 1991.
During his time at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg he contributed significantly to the improvement of academic education in genetics, plant breeding, and seed production as well as applied cytogenetic research. His activity was internationally recognized. He became Vice Dean of the Agricultural Faculty in 1970-72, a member of the Scientific Council of University, and a member of Scientific Council of Agricultural Sciences of the Ministry of Higher Education (1981-1984), Dr. Mettin had the opportunity to encourage and direct several graduate students. More than 40 B.Sc. and more than 60 M.Sc. students studied under his supervision. Many of the research projects involved the participation of the 12 Ph.D. and two D.Sc. applicants. He was well known for his interest in and his commitment toward helping younger research scientists in their developing careers. He retained contact with his former students and never lost interest in their progress. His interest in teaching continued throughout his career.
Mettin s research work encompassed many facets of basic and applied research ranging from cytotaxonomic studies of Vicia, induced auto- and allopolyploidization in Brassica and Secale, wide hybridization in Triticineae, production and utilization of aneuploids in Aegilops, Secale, and Triticum, genetic mapping of resistance genes to leaf diseases, and quantitative traits in wheat and homoeologous chromosome pairing in cereals to first applications of molecular genetics and biotechnology in plant breeding. He was among the pioneers of wheat aneuploid research in the world. The creation of the complete series of monosomics of the German wheat cultivar Poros (winter type) and Carola (spring type), the production of the first complete series of primary rye trisomics, the co-discoveries of the T1B·1R wheat-rye translocations/substitutions in hexaploid wheat, and the spontaneous homologous recombination between wheat and rye chromosomes are four of his most essential merits left.
Dieter Mettin was recognized widely in his profession as a consummate plant geneticist and cytogeneticist whose advice was often sought by plant breeders. He was the author of over 100 scientific papers, conference proceedings and book contributions. His awards include member of the Academy of Agricultural Sciences (Berlin), M.L.U Award of Sciences (Halle), and J. Kuehn Award (Halle). He was a cofounder of European Wheat Aneuploid Cooperation (EWAC), Curator of Aneuploid Research of the CMEC Agricultural Research (Odessa; Russia), member and President of Scientific Council Molecular and Cellular Genetics of Biosciences Program of DDR.
Dieter Mettin s legacy will remain in memory of all his students, colleagues and friends. He is survived by his wife, Edelgard Mettin, who lives in Naumburg (Germany) and by his son, Albrecht Mettin.