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The Joshua Lederberg Papers

Letter from Robert Guthrie to Joshua Lederberg pdf (339,792 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Robert Guthrie to Joshua Lederberg
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
4 (339,792 Bytes)
1949-01-31 (January 31, 1949)
Guthrie, Robert
Lederberg, Joshua
Reproduced with permission of Margaret Guthrie.
Lederberg Grouping: Correspondence B
Box Number: 7
Folder Number: 54
Unique Identifier:
Accession Number:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence, 1935-2002
SubSeries: 1947-1953
Folder: Guthrie, Robert
Dear Josh -
Just rec'd your letter of 1-29. All my E coli mutants are derived from the following stocks:
1) ATC 9723 (Roepke's parent)
2) a purine- requiring mutant of the above (mutants have double requirements)
3) Tatum's 58 (req. biotin) - mutants have double requirement
4) A pyrimidine - requiring mutant of 58 (req. biotin pyremidine) (mutants have triple-requirements)
None of my E. coli mutants have been characterized for a specific amino acid or vitamin, but were assigned only to amino acid group, B vitamin group, purine group, pyrimidine group by auxanogram plate technic[SIC]. I was never interested much in characterizing them. I have 50 or so good, stable biochem mutants that have never been characterized.
I have several times as many B. subtilis mutants and my stock of these is growing by
leaps and bounds, if you know anyone who'd like any of these. I haven't been doing any E. coli work since summer, but have just now resumed my work on my purine requiring E. coli. I want to measure the P- -> P+ mutation rate on the simple medium A and the complex medium B, so as to complete the solution and mutation rate data. I think I have enough selection data to publish it, when I get the mut. rates, which should be included in the same paper. Maybe I'll give this at the SAB meeting since I gave the earlier work there last May. I also want to finish up my stuff on effects of U.V. X-ray on frequency of reversion in nutritional mutants by doing it on a couple of B. subtilis (mutant) strains as spore suspensions, just to compare with my data on the E. coli purine req bug and another E coli 58 biotin and pyrimidine req. strain. At high dosages of U.V. and X-ray, plates of E coli contained purine and pyrimidine from dead cells. Maybe with B. subtilis spore suspensions and can go to higher dosages than with E. coli ; before this effect interferes.
I think your suggestion for a bact. genetics conference is good. How about the Monday of the SAB meeting at Cincinatti[sic], just before the meeting starts? We
could perhaps even start on Sunday, if possible and if enough guys would attend.
What did you have in mind -- a round-table discussion, or some more or less formal papers? I would suggest roundtable panels with 2 or 3 groups to give 15 min papers and 2 or 3 guys to lead the discussion of these papers, There could be (2 or 3) several of these each about 2 hrs long under such headings as:
1) phage
2) sex in bacteria
3) biochemical mechanisms in bacteria as shown by mutation rate
4) antibiotic or drug resistance
5) nuclear material and nucleic acids in bacteria.
Probably you have some better ideas. Would you want to limit it to bacteria, or include yeasts and molds?
I think this is a good idea, Josh and the proper officials planning the meeting might be consulted regarding reserving some kind of a room, if you think the
SAB meeting would be a good place for it. Let me know what you think and how I could help. I could probably get some secretarial help here, if you like to write some of the fellows who might participate in such a conference.
Another possibility that has occurred to me is that the N.Y. Academy of Science might sponsor such a conference as you suggest. As you know, they've sponsored such meetings for highly specialized fields before.
Bob Guthrie
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