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The Marshall W. Nirenberg Papers

[Preliminary notes for speech given at the Lasker Awards luncheon] pdf (98,872 Bytes) transcript of pdf
[Preliminary notes for speech given at the Lasker Awards luncheon]
Marshall Nirenberg won the Lasker Award for medical research in 1968 for his contributions to deciphering the genetic code. In these handwritten notes for his acceptance speech, Nirenberg asserts the new knowledge in molecular genetics "will have a marked effect" on the "eternal questions of who we are and where we are going," but not immediately as more basic information is needed. He predicts a new area of research in genetic research will emerge in the last part of the twentieth century, including work on molecular evolution and genetic surgery.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (98,872 Bytes)
Date Supplied:
ca. 21 November 1968
Nirenberg, Marshall W.
Reproduced with permission of Marshall W. Nirenberg.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Exhibit Category:
Translating the Code of Life and the Nobel Prize, 1962-1968
Metadata Record Lasker Lunch Remarks (November 21, 1968) pdf (63,645 Bytes) ocr (1,740 Bytes)
Box Number: 4
Folder Number: 10
Unique Identifier:
Accession Number:
Document Type:
Drafts (documents)
Physical Condition:
Series: Series I: Personal and Biographical, 1945-2000
SubSeries: Other Awards and Honors, 1962-1988
Folder: Albert Lasker Medical Research Award, Albert Lasker Foundation (New York, NY) [includes notes and drafts of speech], 1968 Nov
1. The field of molecular genetics has advanced with incredible rapidity during the last 10 to 15 years. You may wonder whether the new knowledge will have any effect upon the eternal question of who we are and where we are going.
I think it will have a marked effect, but no immediately
2. Much more basic information must first be obtained.
The initial objective is to understand the chemistry of the normal cell. This leads naturally to an understanding of the aberrant cell, and is obviously a great importance to medicine.
Once can predict that a new era of research will emerge
3. during the next 25 years, -- that of molecular evolution in which the effects of synthetic genes upon the economy of the cell will be explored.
We know that the machinery of the cell will accept and follow any instructions written is the appropriate molecular language. The language has been deciphered
4. and it seems probable that most if not all forms of life on this planet use the same language with minor variations. Genetic surgery is a reality, both microorganisms and with mammalian cells.
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