Academic literature has paid scant attention to the biological sciences at Stanford University, an omission all the more conspicuous considering their productivity since World War II. This article draws on previously unused archival material to establish a starting point for further study of the biological sciences at Stanford. It traces the evolution of Stanford's biological sciences through three experimental fields: self-directed developmental and evolutionary studies; fundamental research at the molecular level; and biomedical applications of fundamental knowledge. Taken together, a history of Stanford's biological sciences offers a remarkably fertile example of organizational flexibility in historical context. This essay ends by suggesting that a fourth phase of biological research at Stanford will be governed by commercial interest in biology.

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