One in a series of letters between Cohen and Mirsky regarding the chemical nature of DNA. In 1974, Cohen produced an article
with Franklin Portugal on the subject that appeared in "Connecticut Medicine."
Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (112,582 Bytes)
1974-02-22 (February 22, 1974)
Cohen, Jack S.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U.S.)
Mirsky, Alfred E.
Original Repository: Rockefeller Archive Center. Alfred E. Mirsky Papers
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
History of Medicine
Letter from Alfred E. Mirsky to Jack S. Cohen (June 29, 1973)
Letter from Jack S. Cohen to Alfred E. Mirsky (July 25, 1973)
Letter from Jack S. Cohen to Alfred E. Mirsky (January 25, 1974)
Letter from Alfred E. Mirsky to Jack S. Cohen (January 29, 1974)
The Search for the Chemical Structure of DNA (October 1974)
Upon consideration of the points made in your letter of January 29 I have decided to delete the offending reference. I am
glad you are writing an account of your own involvement in this important area, and I hope you will eventually send me a copy.
Jack S. Cohen
Reproduction Research Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Revised footnote 143.
Alfred Mirsky, also working at the Rockefeller Institute, has been mentioned as one of the chief questioners of DNA as the
transforming substance by Chargaff (ref. 75), Hotchkiss (ref. 144b) and Stent (Molecular Genetics, Freeman, San Francisco,
1971, p. 180).
Mirsky's views at the time are most clearly expressed as; Avery and his colleagues have shown decisively by inactivation
experiments that desoxyribose nucleic acid is an essential part of the transforming agent, and if there actually is no protein
in their preparation, it would be obvious that the agent consists of nothing but nucleic acid. This is a conclusion of the
greatest interest in the study of the chemical basis of biological specificity, and it should therefore be scrutinized carefully.
There can be little doubt in the mind of anyone who has prepared nucleic acid that traces of protein probably remain in even
the best preparations. With the tests now available for detecting how much protein is present in a nucleic acid preparation,
it is probable that as much as 1 or 2 per cent of protein could be present in a preparation of "pure, protein-free"
nucleic acid. One of the most sensitive direct tests for protein is the Millon reaction,