Scientist, poet and author. Born to a Scottish mother in Chester (NW England), Dutton was brought up within the Scots diaspora. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh (BSc, 1949; PhD, 1954), before moving to the University of Dundee (then University College) where he was to spend the remainder of his career. There he undertook revolutionary work on the way the body deals with toxic chemicals and determined that the way a baby metabolises pharmaceuticals is fundamentally different to that of an adult, an observation which had a profound effect on drug-prescribing policy for children and saved numerous lives. Similarly, he revealed differences across species, with implications for veterinary medicine. This also highlighted the limitations of animal testing for drugs used on humans.
He became known as one of the most respected authorities in his field worldwide and his group helped establish Dundee as an international centre for biomedical sciences. He received several international honours and honorary degrees, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1973.
Dutton was also an enthusiastic mountaineer, who edited the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal for a time, and a noted poet, with published collections Camp One (1978), Squaring the Waves (1986), The Concrete Garden (1991) and The Bare Abundance: Selected Poems 1975 - 2001 (2002).
For fifty years Dutton lived with his wife on a hillside in Glen Shee, where he practiced 'marginal gardening' in the challenging conditions of Highland Perthshire. This hobby became the subject of two books, Harvesting The Edge (1995) and Some Branch Against the Sky (1997).