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The Maxine Singer Papers

Letter from Leon A. Heppel to Maxine Singer pdf (199,677 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Leon A. Heppel to Maxine Singer
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
4 (199,677 Bytes)
Date Supplied:
27 July 1958?
[Heppel, Leon A.]
[National Institutes of Health (U.S.)]
[Singer, Maxine]
Original Repository: Library of Congress. Maxine Singer Papers
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Exhibit Category:
Nucleic Acids, the Genetic Code, and Transposable Genetic Elements: A Life in Research
Box Number: 1
Folder Number: 2
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence, 1955-2004, n.d.
SubSeries: Chronological
Folder: 1958
Sunday July 27
Dear Maxine --
The lab is vacant today except for Peter Gilham and myself -- that differentiates Sundays from week days for me. I had hoped to celebrate Sunday by cleaning up my hut -- there's so much dirt on the floor it's frightening, but I've decided not to bother. After all, there are never any visitors. We have quite a drought in Vancouver, no rain in 4 weeks, only 3 days of rain since April. I'm on a dusty country road and there's a fair breeze most of the time. It sends dust, insects and stuff into my windows. Today I had an inspiration -- peanut butter for sandwiches! Jam is become so tiresome, especially since I finish one jar before opening the next. Strawberry jam sandwiches, all one week for 2 of the 3 meals, blueberry jam the next -- its monotonous. Cheese and meat are out because I've no refrigerator. But peanut butter is quite practical.
I saw Princess Margaret yesterday during a 20 minute afternoon break. She was getting an honorary degree. The whole thing was delightfully absurd. First of all, there was practically nobody there -- a thin row of people side by side -- not
even two rows along the line of march of the academic procession. The faculty of this mediocre university were dressed up in fantastically elaborate academic gowns -- mostly from English universities and there were military men in fancy dress, including belts. There were extremely pompous local dignitaries in top hats. The president of the university, a big old oaf, was ordering people about in grand style. Then with a flourish, up drove an open car flanked by 20 motor cycle police. The 50 Canadian Mounties in fancy red, sprang to attention. Out hopped this little slip of a girl, much finer than Arvilla[?] who is smaller than Adelaide. She walked with a curious stoop and a kind of loping gait which made her seem even tinier and younger -- a mere teen ager. Her face was pretty and she had lovely sky blue eyes, but her expression was a sort of frozen smile. She did not respond to the patter of applause. She entered the building, to emerge minutes later in her academic robes and for a second time marched in front of me. Back to work.
I've enclosed the elation diagram of one of the runs done in the Cary -- 190.00 units of Poly A digest and 200.0 units of AMP put in as
a marker. The digestion was carried to a point where 52gms of Poly A was acid soluble in 3% [ . . . ]. In n-prop-NH3-H2O one sees abnonine[?], 5-AMP, a fast pApA, some tri, tetra, pesta[?] and after 3 days [ . . . ] hexa. I used, per 10 mg. poly A only 0.05 ml 4/30/BL 0-.4ks, 12hrs, 370. If the peaks are labeled correctly one sees at least a ripple to correspond to oligonucleotides of up to 10 units long. The later peaks are crowded -- a more gentle gradient should have been used for them. Today I'm running more material on the Technician collector using stepwise elution. It's not going especially well. 40 mg. poly A digest was used but more should have been prepared. The peaks are too broad and shallow.
These "Caryograms" are only an hour and a half's work, altho it's nerve wracking because the home made cell leaks and there are other complications. It might be fun to try a very "early" Poly U part RNA digest and see what kind of family the 2',3' cyclic nucleo-tides form. Only 200 O.D. units serve nicely (20 moles, 10 mg. poly U). If there happens to be some around perhaps you'd like to send me some and I'll run the experiment. Incidentally, I digested some poly AU with RNAase, using NH3 to
adjust the pH to avoid salts. It's in the [ . . . ] cold room -- I never got to lyophilizing it. That would be nice to try on the Ecteola column as well. If you find it, perhaps you wouldn't mind drying it down and sending it as well. Sorry to be of trouble. I've made some 6-7gms UMP and I'm on the second batch now. It's a fair amount of work but went smoothly on the whole. Next week I hope to tackle 5'-CMP. The UDP prep. is at the amidate stage.
Adelaide writes that it's dreadfully hot in Bethesda. I hope you're taking it reasonably easy and conserving your strength in the face of such brutal weathers. It will be nice to see all of you again. It's rather lonesome here.
Best wishes,
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