Letter from Marshall W. Nirenberg to Kiyoshi Kurahashi
This letter to Kurahashi at the Institute for Protein Research at Osaka University reveals the pressing research issues in
early 1962--determining the character of RNA coding units, working out coding ratios, resolving issues of degeneracy and specificity,
and obtaining evidence of the universality of the code. Nirenberg laments, "There is so much to do that the work seems
to crawl along at a snail's pace." Personal matters are also included.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (99,701 Bytes)
1962-01-16 (January 16, 1962)
Nirenberg, Marshall W.
Reproduced with permission of Marshall W. Nirenberg.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Sequence Analysis, RNA
Translating the Code of Life and the Nobel Prize, 1962-1968
Synthetic RNA and the Poly-U Experiments, 1959-1962
Thank you very much for your letter. It was wonderful to hear from you.
Enclosed are reprints and two preprints of our recent work; one of which is in press in Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences, the other in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. I am in the midst of writing a few more papers
and I will send manuscripts when they are finished.
The work is pretty exciting at this stage. Currently we are trying to determine characteristics of RNA coding units, such
as the coding ratio, degeneracy, specificity of coding units, the effect of secondary structure upon the activity of coding
units, etc. However, there is so much to do that the work seems to crawl along at a snail's pace. Leon Heppel and Maxine
have been doing some work with us and this has been a great help. One other thing that we are trying to do is to obtain an
estimate of the universality of the code. It will be months though before we have really clean data concerning this question.
Gordon flew back from Paris last week for a few days and it was a lot of fun to see and talk to him. Both he and Millicent
are enjoying Paris very much and he is very excited about the work that he is doing there. It was wonderful hearing about
the gossip from Paris. Actually, Bruce and Giovanna came back from Paris several weeks ago and we heard quite a bit about
current research going on at Pasteur from them. They both had a good time in Cambridge and in Paris.
Mike Yarmolinsky is engaged to a Finnish girl - an artist whom he met this past summer when he was vacationing in Europe.
They expect to be married this summer.
Let me know how things are going and give my best regards to your mother.