By Shane Crotty

ISBN-10: 0520225570

ISBN-13: 9780520225572

In Fifties, Watson and Crick verified a so-called "central dogma" in molecular biology: DNA makes RNA, and RNA makes proteins. besides the fact that, round 1970, teams in US stumbled on the 1st exception of this rule. David Baltimore's and Howard Temin's groups stumbled on that RNA makes DNA! This unforeseen discovering of theirs in cancer-causing RNA viruses not just made this box up-side down, but additionally opened a brand new street referred to as "recombinant know-how" a decade later, for cloning genes and transfering any gene from one species to a different nearly at will. as a result, Baltimore and Temin shared a Nobel prize in 1975. Baltimore's greatness prolonged past the technology. He seen this global in an "unconventional" demeanour. He married a highly-talented chinese language biologist, and protested opposed to the hugely debatable US wars in Vietnam and Iraq. He has a superb knowledge which lets study from this well-written biography.

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Extra info for Ahead of the Curve: David Baltimore's Life in Science

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A coat-and-tie a¤air, dinner always pleased. A group of students known as “the last of the big spenders” ate steak every night for an extra dollar. Lunches were even better, held in a huge, austere dining hall whose floor was lined with rows of long wooden tables in the English college tradition. Only graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors were admitted, and dress was formal. They sat anywhere, without regard to seniority. Baltimore routinely sat next to Peyton Rous, winner of the 1966 Nobel Prize for his work on cancer, or Fritz Lipmann, winner of the 1953 Nobel Prize for his biochemical elucidation of basic metabolism.

Thomas Hunt Morgan, probably the greatest geneticist of the early twentieth century, built on Mendel’s ideas by using fruit flies (Drosophila) to study hereditary traits. Fruit flies gave quick results because of their short lifespan and rapid breeding: thus genetic experiments could be completed in two weeks instead of the months it took using Mendel’s pea plants, or the years it took with Jackson Lab’s mice. Huge numbers of flies could be stored in mason jars, and Drosophila had plenty of observable genetic traits to be explored, such as eye color, wing shape, and hair length.

Streisinger showed Baltimore how to grow bacterial colonies on a petri dish filled with agar, a gelatinous substance. First the bacteria must be diluted. If bacteria from a flask teeming with growth are poured onto an agar dish, the plate becomes a bacterial lawn, covered with growth. But for bacterial genetics experiments, individual bacterial clones are needed. So the bacterial culture is first diluted one million–fold, and then a small volume of culture, containing between ten and one hundred bacteria, is poured onto an agar dish.

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Ahead of the Curve: David Baltimore's Life in Science by Shane Crotty


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