Question

Unlike the conviction held by many of her colleagues that genes were relatively simple and static, Barbara McClintock adhered to her own more complicated ideas about how genes might operate, and in 1983, at the age of 81, was awarded a Nobel Prize for her discovery that the genes in corn are capable of moving from one chromosomal site to another.

Option A
Option B
Option C
Option D
Option E

(This question is from Official Guide. Therefore, because of copyrights, the complete question cannot be copied here. The question can be accessed at GMAT Club)

Solution

Sentence Analysis

The sentence structure is:

  • Unlike the conviction (Beginning modifier. Creates comparison with the subject of the main clause)
    • held by many of her colleagues (verb-ed modifier for ‘convition’)
    • that genes were relatively simple and static, (subordinate clause modifying ‘conviction’)
  • Barbara McClintock (Main Subject)
    • adhered to her own more complicated ideas (Main verb 1 – “adhered”)
      • about how genes might operate, (prepositional phrase modifying “ideas”)
    • and in 1983, at the age of 81, was awarded a Nobel Prize for her discovery (Main Verb 2 – “was awarded”)
      • that the genes in corn are capable of moving from one chromosomal site to another. (subordinate clause modifying “discovery”)

The sentence says that even though many of Barbara’s colleagues were convinced that genes were relatively simple and static, she believed that genes behave in complicate ways. In 1981, she was awarded a Noble Price for some discovery about genes (Clearly, we do not need to worry about the details of the discovery here).

The error in the sentence is that it compares conviction with Barbara.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the error mentioned above.

(B) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. “is/was/were of the conviction” is non-idiomatic.
  2. “conviction of genes” creates a distorted structure and leads to illogical meaning that conviction belonged to genes!!

(C) Incorrect. The contrast between the ideas: what Barbara believed and what her colleagues believed is not clear from this option. The contrast seems to be between the persons and not between the ideas.

(D) Correct. The contrast is clear between the two ideas.

(E) Incorrect. The structure is very awkward. “convinced of genes” creates the same distortion as highlighted in error no. 2 of option B. Besides, “even with…” fails to convey the intended contrast.

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