Hon Dame Anne Laura Dorinthea Michie, DBE DPhil FRS FRCOG

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Hon Dame Anne Laura Dorinthea Michie (McLaren), DBE DPhil FRS FRCOG

Birthplace: UK
Death: 2007 (79-80)
Car accident
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Henry Duncan McLaren, 2nd Baron Aberconway, CBE and Christabel, Baroness Aberconway
Wife of Dr. Donald Michie
Mother of Private; Private and Private
Sister of Elizabeth Mary McLaren; Charles Melville McLaren, 3rd Baron Aberconway; John Francis McLaren; Private and Private

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Hon Dame Anne Laura Dorinthea Michie, DBE DPhil FRS FRCOG

Google Doodle April 26, 2021 https://g.co/doodle/hbgpqmq

Vice-President and Foreign Secretary of The Royal Society since 1992, President, British Association for the Advancement of Science 1993-94


Dame Anne Laura Dorinthea McLaren, DBE, FRS, FRCOG (26 April 1927 – 7 July 2007) was a leading figure in developmental biology. Her work helped lead to human in vitro fertilisation (IVF). She received many honours for her contributions to science, including being made an officer of the Royal Society. She was the daughter of Henry McLaren, 2nd Baron Aberconway and Christabel McNaughten.

Early training

She studied zoology at Oxford University, gaining entrance to Lady Margaret Hall and obtaining an MA. Researching mite infestation of Drosophila under J. B. S. Haldane, she continued postgraduate studies at University College London, first under Peter Medawar on the genetics of rabbits and then on neurotropic murine viruses under Kingsley Sanders. She obtained her D.Phil in 1952 and married fellow student Dr Donald Michie on 6 October 1952.

Early career and married life

As a couple, McLaren and Donald Michie worked together at University College, London from 1952–1955, and afterwards at the Royal Veterinary College, on the variation in the number of lumbar vertebrae in mice as a function of maternal environment. McLaren would later take up research on fertility in mice, including superovulation and superpregnancy. During this period, they had three children:

Susan Fiona Dorinthea Michie (born 19 June 1955)

Jonathan Mark Michie (born 25 March 1957)

Caroline Ruth Michie (born 1 August 1959)

However, the marriage ended in divorce in 1959, and McLaren moved to the Institute of Animal Genetics in Edinburgh to continue her research. The couple remained on good terms; Michie also moved to Edinburgh. The experience of raising children as a single career parent made McLaren a strong advocate for government assistance towards childcare.

Later career and honours

McLaren spent the next 15 years (1959–1977) at the Institute of Animal Genetics, studying a variety of topics related to fertility, development and epigenetics, including the development of mouse embryonic transfer, immunocontraception, and the skeletal characteristics of chimeras. In 1974, she left Edinburgh to become the Director of the MRC Mammalian Development Unit in London. In 1992, she retired from the Mammalian Development Unit and moved to Cambridge, joining the Wellcome/CRC Institute, later the Gurdon Institute. She was made a Fellow-Commoner of Christ's College, Cambridge in 1991.

In 1975, she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society, and from 1991 to 1996, she held the position of Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, the first female officer in the society's 300-year history. In 1986, she was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for her pioneering work on fertility. In 1989 she presented the Ellison-Cliffe Lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine. In 1993, she was created a DBE. From 1993 to 1994, she was president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

McLaren was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics 1991-2000. In 2002, she was awarded the Japan Prize with Andrzej K. Tarkowski for their contributions to developmental biology and in 2007 she was awarded the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology.


McLaren (aged 80) and her ex-husband Donald Michie (aged 83) were killed in a road accident on 7 July 2007, when their car left the M11 motorway as they travelled from Cambridge to London. There is a fund in the name of Anne McLaren for encouragement of scientific study.


As a child she also appeared in the film version of H.G. Wells' novel Things to Come.

In her later life, she was a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, which made travel to the USA difficult for a while.


Surani, Azim; Smith, Jim (16 August 2007). "Obituary: Anne McLaren (1927–2007)". Nature 448 (7155): 764–765. doi:10.1038/448764a. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 17700691.

Rossant, Janet; Hogan, Brigid (3 August 2007). "RETROSPECTIVE: Anne McLaren (1927-2007)". Science 317 (5838): 609. doi:10.1126/science.1147801. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 17673646.

Vasetzky SG, Dyban AP, Zelenin AV (March 2008). "Anne McLaren (1927–2007)". Russian Journal of Developmental Biology 39 (2): 125–126. doi:10.1007/s11174-008-2010-4. ISSN 1062-3604. PMID 18669298

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