Edward Lewis is born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the second son of Edward Butts Lewis, a watchmaker-jeweller and his wife, Laura Mary Histed.
By mutating fly embryos Lewis obtains flies with extra pairs of wings. By observing this phenomenon he shows that it is not only the wings that are duplicated but the whole body segment that contained the wings. In a paper entitled "A Gene Complex Controlling Segmentation in Drosophila", published in Nature in 1978, Lewis is able to identify the gene sequence responsible for the development and order of each fly-body segment.
Edward Lewis is Guest Professor at the Institute of Genetics, University of Copenhagen.
Edward Lewis enters the University of Minnesota, where he receives his bachelor in biostatistics. In these years he works on Drosophila melanogaster in the laboratory of C.P. Oliver.
Edward Lewis starts attending college at Bucknell on a music scholarship. After a year at Bucknell he decides to transfer to the University of Minnesota. In these years Lewis orders Drosophila cultures from an advertisement in Science Magazine and begins alongside his high school classmate and friend Edward Novitski rudimentary studies of the organism.
Edward Lewis receives one third of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Eric F. Wieschaus "for their discoveries concerning the genetic control of early embryonic development".
Edward Lewis enters the California Institute of Technology, where he earns his Ph.D. in genetics working under Alfred Sturtevant. During his time as a graduate student, Lee publishes several papers. The most important is the one regarding the cis-trans test, also known as the complementation test. This test helps to determine whether two independent, recessive mutations are located on the same gene or separate genes.
Edward Lewis is Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at Cambridge University.
Edward Lewis serves to the rank of captain in the United States Army Air Force from 1942-1945 as a meteorologist and oceanographer in Hawaii and in Okinawa.
Edward Lewis earns a Master Degree in Metereology.
Edward Lewis joins the Caltech as Instructor. In 1956 he is appointed Professor of Biology and in 1966 Thomas Hunt Morgan Professor of Biology. In 1988 he becomes Emeritus. In a 1957 study with Drosophila, he calculates the increased risk of leukaemia brought about by exposure to radiation. In 1964, Lewis by crossbreeding fruit flies, discovers the correlation between the arrangements of genes on the chromosome to specific body segments. This orderliness is known as the colinearity principle.
Edward Lewis dies of prostate cancer in Pasadena. Lewis continues working with Drosophila all his life long, submitting his last published article on the topic a month before his death. Lewis dies at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, at the age of 86.
Edward Lewis attends E. L. Meyers High School. At the age of 10 Lewis receives a wooden flute from his uncle. Few years later his father gives him a silver one. He becomes a member of the Wilkes-Barre Symphony.