Robley Williams was one of many virus researchers that Franklin visited during her 1954 trip to the United States. In this
letter, he responded to several of her recent articles on the probable structural configuration of TMV, as revealed by x-ray
diffraction studies, and shared his own manuscript regarding an important breakthrough: he and his colleagues had been able
to reconstitute a fully competent, infective tobacco mosaic virus from virus fragments.
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1955-08-02 (August 2, 1955)
University of California, Berkeley
Original Repository: Churchill Archives Centre. The Papers of Rosalind Franklin
Reproduced with permission of Robley C. Williams Jr.
Many thanks indeed for your manuscripts of papers on the structure of TMV. They have been of great interest to some of us
here, and I have passed them around to several people.
Perhaps the density anomaly should not bother us unduly. When one considers the unlikelihood that the "density" of
TMV can even be defined, let alone measured according to the definition, it appears that a discrepancy in the calculated and
measured density values need not be taken as a certain indication that a given model is wrong.
I enclose a manuscript which you may have heard rumors about. It has occurred to me that you might be interested in examining
the x-ray pattern of some of this reconstituted virus. It would be particularly useful to have x-ray evidence as to the localization
of the RNA in the re-polymerized material. The pelleted material from the reconstitution experiments will have rods of an
average length not much less than TMV, and it might well be subject to satisfactory parallel alignment. If you would like
some of this material, let me know, and I will send over at least the minimum quantity that you specify.