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J Med Biogr. 2012 May;20(2):79-83. doi: 10.1258/jmb.2011.011013.

Franz von Leydig (1821-1908), pioneer of comparative histology.

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Gene Center, LMU Munich, Feodor-Lynen-Street 25, Munich, Germany.


Franz von Leydig, a German histologist and zoologist, is known to every student of human or animal anatomy because of the testicular testosterone-producing cells carrying his name. However, he made many contributions to our knowledge of the fine structure of animal tissues, including more than 200 scientific articles and several books. His most important work, the book Lehrbuch der Histologie des Menschen und der Thiere, established him as a pioneer if not the founder of comparative histology. Leydig taught at three different universities (Würzburg, Tübingen and Bonn) and received many honours from scientific organizations worldwide, including the Royal Society. He died in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the town of his birth, aged 86 years.

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