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The Oswald T. Avery Collection

Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Martin R. Pollock pdf (66,001 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Martin R. Pollock
In this letter, Lederberg asked Pollock for a reprint of an article that he hoped would assist him in his research on the early responses to Avery's transforming principle in the 1940s.
Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (66,001 Bytes)
1972-10-18 (October 18, 1972)
Lederberg, Joshua
Pollock, Martin R.
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
History of Medicine
Exhibit Category:
After the Discovery: The Transforming Principle's Reception by the Scientific Community
Metadata Record The Discovery of DNA: An Ironic Tale of Chance, Prejudice and Insight (1970) pdf (2,528,886 Bytes) ocr (75,680 Bytes)
Metadata Record Letter from Martin R. Pollock to Joshua Lederberg (October 25, 1972) pdf (97,247 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Metadata Record Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Martin R. Pollock (December 26, 1972) pdf (44,492 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Box Number: 5
Folder Number: 2
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
Dear Martin:
Re: Griffith Lecture -- The Discovery of DNA
May I have a reprint?
The attributions by Wilson and Elliott would seem to answer my question -- that Griffith was quite oblivious to historical precedents.
There is so little documentation about F.G.! Do you have transcripts of your 'personal communications' (refs. 22, 23, 26) for a historical record? If so, might I be privileged to see them.
Your paper does a beautiful job; I am sorry I did not have it to hand when I drafted the letter to Nature in response to Wyatt. I will be elaborating on the convergence of genetics and microbiology in a piece I mean to do on the discovery of recombination in E. coli K-12; and your account of Griffith's intellectual posture (which is perhaps almost a caricature of the medical bacteriologist) is invaluable.
Would we remember Griffith today if Avery had not been waiting, the chemist with the prepared mind, to pick it up? Or would the paper be another antiquity, like SanFelice, DNA mediated transformations having been discovered instead via phage transfection. It seems fairly certain that Watson and Crick would have ended up putting the structure of DNA together in 1953 regardless of Avery. But I probably would not have tried to cross bacteria, without having crawled the route from trying to transform Neurospora; and bacteria might have been overshadowed even more by viruses in these studies than they were.
P.S. You were kind not to rub in Wendell Stanley's false start on TMV as pure protein (and correction by Pirie) to reinforce the atmosphere of p. 14.
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