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The Oswald T. Avery Collection

Letter from Maclyn McCarty to Joshua Lederberg pdf (53,096 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Maclyn McCarty to Joshua Lederberg
In this brief letter, McCarty provided to Lederberg additional information on Harriett Ephrussi-Taylor's early interest in Avery's "transforming principle."
Number of Image Pages:
1 (53,096 Bytes)
1972-10-11 (October 11, 1972)
McCarty, Maclyn
Lederberg, Joshua
Reproduced with permission of Maclyn McCarty.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
History of Medicine
Transformation, Genetic
Exhibit Category:
After the Discovery: The Transforming Principle's Reception by the Scientific Community
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Commentary on Avery and His Work, 1944-2005
SubSeries: Inquiries on Avery
Folder: Lederberg Inquiries, 1962, 1972-1978
October 11, 1972
Dear Josh:
With regard to the relationship of Harriett Taylor to our group here at Rockefeller, I believe that she first approached Avery about doing postdoctoral work in his laboratory at about the time she was completing her degree requirements in the spring of 1945. She then joined the lab that summer. I do not know who contacted Avery about this and it may have been Harriett herself. Certainly she was motivated by an intense interest in working in the transformation field. Just where she got that interest is another question, and I can only contribute a small point on the issue. Dobzhansky was aware of the Griffith phenomenon and the fact that it was still under investigation in Avery's lab, and in the 1941 edition of his "Genetics and the Origin of Species" he discussed transformation and added "If this transformation is described as a genetic mutation -- and it is difficult to avoid so describing it -- ". . . . Thus, at least one of Harriett's professors saw the genetic implications of transformation.
Sincerely yours,
Maclyn McCarty, M.D.
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