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The Oswald T. Avery Collection

Letter from Alfred E. Mirsky to L. C. Dunn pdf (55,475 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Alfred E. Mirsky to L. C. Dunn
Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (55,475 Bytes)
1969-12-01 (December 1, 1969)
Mirsky, Alfred E.
Dunn, L. C.
Original Repository: Rockefeller Archive Center. Alfred E. Mirsky Papers
Reproduced with permission of the Rockefeller Archive Center.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
History of Medicine
Nucleic Acids
Exhibit Category:
After the Discovery: The Transforming Principle's Reception by the Scientific Community
Box Number: 4
Folder Number: 6
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Commentary on Avery and His Work, 1944-2005
SubSeries: Chronological
Folder: 1964-1969
December 1, 1969
Dr. L. C. Dunn
635 West 247th St.
Bronx, New York
Dear Dunny,
I have had a look at your chapter in the new book edited by Caspari & Ravin. First I read your first few charming paragraphs. Then I turned to see what you had to say about Miescher. First there is the sentence on page 57: "Yet such was the foresight or the breadth of view of a medically trained chemist like Friedrich Miescher, who first isolated a nucleic acid that even in 1871 he supposed it might have a genetic function," Then there is a paragraph on Miescher on page 59 in which there comes this sentence: "He soon isolated the same acidic compound from the sperm of other animals and suggested that nuclein was the active genetic material of their sperm."
I am sorry to say that these statements which I quote are not in accord with the documents - Miescher's papers and letters. The actual events are very interesting and significant for the history of our knowledge of heredity. I did my best to give an account of what happened in my paper in The Scientific American, to which you refer.
All my best to you and Louise.
Alfred E. Mirsky
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