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The Oswald T. Avery Collection
- [Notes on the biological interpretation of Fred Griffith's finding]
- Number of Image Pages:
- 1 (62,306 Bytes)
- Lederberg, Joshua
- Periodical: Lederberg, Joshua. [Notes on the biological interpretation of Fred Griffith's finding]. American Scientist 44, 3 (1956):
268-269. Notes. 1 Image.
- Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
- Reproduced with permission of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society.
- Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
- Transformation, Genetic
- Exhibit Categories:
- Shifting Focus: Early Work on Bacterial Transformation, 1928-1940
- After the Discovery: The Transforming Principle's Reception by the Scientific Community
- Genetic Transduction (July 1956) (in The Joshua Lederberg Papers)
- Box Number: 5
- Folder Number: 4
- Unique Identifier:
- Document Type:
- Physical Condition:
- Series: Commentary on Avery and His Work, 1944-2005
- SubSeries: Inquiries on Avery
- Folder: 50th Anniversary of the 1944 Article, 1993-1995
- slides--my talk 2/94
- These spectacular discoveries in biochemistry ran far ahead of the genetic study of the pneumococcus transformation, which
relied on the capsule as a sole genetic marker. Until this study was broadened about 1951 with experiments on drug resistance
and other markers (8, 9), a variety of opinions were forwarded (mostly on a purely speculative level) on the biological interpretation
of Griffith's finding. They included the following versions of the transforming substance:
- 1. It was a specific mutagen with a special ability to direct a particular gene to mutate in a definite direction.
- 2. It was a polysaccharide autocatalyst (perhaps as a complex with DNA) that primed an enzymatic reaction for polysaccharide
- 3. It was a bacterial virus, which on infecting the bacteria provoked capsular synthesis as a host reaction.
- 4. It was an autonomous cytoplasmic gene or a morphogenetic inducer.
- 5. It might be acting at a distance without penetrating the bacterium.
- 6. It was a fragment of the genetic make-up of the bacterium, the only one to have been tested to that time.
- 7. It was an element sui generis for which no general conception should be adduced.
- Lederberg 1956.
- Metadata Last Modified Date:
U.S. National Library of Medicine, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20894
National Institutes of Health,
Department of Health & Human Services