Robley Williams was one of many virus researchers that Franklin visited during her 1954 trip to the United States. He had
written to her about her recent article on the probable structural configuration of TMV, as revealed by x-ray diffraction
studies, and mused about the differences between her data and those found by he and his colleagues via different methods;
they continued to brainstorm about this in a series of letters. In 1955, Williams and Fraenkel-Conrat found that they could
break TMV into RNA and protein components, then reconstitute them into a new virus, some of which was infective. In this letter,
Franklin offered to take x-ray diffraction photos of the reconstituted TMV.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (53,944 Bytes)
1955-09-14 (September 14, 1955)
University of California, Berkeley
Original Repository: Churchill Archives Centre. The Papers of Rosalind Franklin
Reproduced from the Franklin Collection at the Churchill Archives Centre with the permission of the copyright holder.
Many thanks for your letter a manuscript, which arrived while I was away on holiday. I had heard quite a lot about the reconstituted
virus, from various sources, and I'm very glad to have the details from you. I should certainly like to look at its X-ray
diagram. The equator is completely different for polymerized A and for TMV, so it should be possible to get an idea of how
much of the reconstituted has RNA down the middle.
If it is reasonably easy to orientate, a pellet containing 3 - 4 mg of material would be enough to work with. The actual
specimen used is, of course, a lot smaller than this, but it is usually necessary to try a good many times before getting
I am glad to see you are coming over for the CIBA conference next spring.