13th June 1926 : birth of Jérôme Lejeune Montrouge (near Paris).

19th June 1926 : baptism in the Church of St James the Greater at Montrouge.

15th June 1951 : defends his doctoral thesis in medicine.

1st May 1952 : marriage to Birthe Bringsted, a Danish girl. They are to have five children.



1952 : Appointed research assistant at the CNRS [National Centre of Scientific Research], working alongside Prof. Raymond Turpin with children described at the time as ‘mongols’.

1957 : Appointed scientific expert on the effects of atomic radiation, by UNO.

26th January 1959 : Publication by the [French] Academy of Sciences of his work* leading to the discovery made in 1958 of the causes of mongolism.

1962 : Receives the Kennedy Prize (Washington) for his discovery of the causes of trisomie 21 (Down syndrome).

1964 : Becomes the first person to occupy the first Professorial Chair of Fundamental Genetics at the Paris Faculty of Medicine.

1965 : Becomes Head of the Cytogenetics Unit at the Necker Children’s Hospital at Paris.

1969 : Receives the William Allen Memorial Award (San Francisco)

1981 : Sent on a mission by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences to brief Leonid Brezhnev on the dangers of atomic warfare.

1982 : Appointed member of the Institute (Academy of Moral and Political Sciences).

1983 : Appointed member of the National Academy of Medicine.

1989 : Testifies to the status of frozen embryos as human beings, as witness in a trial at Maryville USA, in a dispute between parties suing for divorce



1993 : Draws up the statutes for a new Pontifical Academy, at the wish of Pope John-Paul II, to be called the Pontifical Academy for Life and founded on 11th February 1994, himself becoming the first President on 26th February 1994.

3rd April 1994 : A few months after being diagnosed as having lung cancer, Jérôme Lejeune renders up his soul to Almighty God. It is Easter Sunday morning.

22nd August 1997 : While attending the JMJ [World Youth Days] at Paris, Pope John-Paul II goes to render homage to «Brother Jérôme » by praying at his grave, situated in the village of Châlo-Saint-Mars.

* J. LEJEUNE, M. GAUTIER et R. TURPIN, ‘Les chromosomes humains en culture de tissus’ : Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences, 26 janvier 1959.