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The Oswald T. Avery Collection

Letter from Martin R. Pollock to Joshua Lederberg pdf (65,886 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Martin R. Pollock to Joshua Lederberg
Number of Image Pages:
1 (65,886 Bytes)
1973-01-08 (January 8, 1973)
Pollock, Martin R.
Lederberg, Joshua
Reproduced with permission of Julian Pollock.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
History of Medicine
Exhibit Categories:
Shifting Focus: Early Work on Bacterial Transformation, 1928-1940
After the Discovery: The Transforming Principle's Reception by the Scientific Community
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
8th January, 1973.
Dear Josh,
Many thanks for your note of December 26 and for all the interesting odds and ends of correspondence you kindly sent with it. I am glad the problem about the Avery Griffith meeting seems now to have been pretty clearly settled.
I would be very interested to know how and in what form all your recent researches into this problem materialize. As I mentioned previously I am concentrating more on the period 1860-1900 which I find most intriguing.
My guess is that biologists did in general think that DNA was "important"; but certainly not necessarily others such as organic chemists. I remember having quite a violent argument with a distinguished organic chemist in 1946 when I pointed out that I saw no reason in principle why DNA should not contain as much specificity as proteins. Did not quite a number of scientists consider its role was primarily structural and supporting in those early days - or at least providing a mechanism for duplication, without necessarily bearing the necessary specificity for transmission of heritable characters? (I am avoiding the use of the word "information" since I think I am right in supposing this came very much later: was it not as a result of a letter you and others wrote to Nature sometime in the '50's?)
With kind regards,
Yours ever,
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