Letter from Francis Crick to Marshall W. Nirenberg


Title:
Letter from Francis Crick to Marshall W. Nirenberg
Creator:
Crick, Francis, 1916-2004
Recipient:
Nirenberg, Marshall W.
Date:
8 June 1965
Description:
The amber and ochre codons mentioned in the letter (the triplets UAG and UAA, respectively) were called nonsense codons because it became clear from experiments with certain phage mutants that they do not specify any amino acid during protein synthesis. UGA was discovered to be the third nonsense codon, after Nirenberg had ruled out that it coded for either tryptophan or cysteine. All three nonsense codons, Crick and others soon determined, instead signaled the termination of the polypeptide chain.. Robert Holley's experiments with soluble RNA, or sRNA, soon to be renamed transfer RNA (tRNA), were designed to sequence the seventy-seven nucleotides of the tRNA that transferred the amino acid alanine during protein synthesis in yeast. These experiments, carried out over seven years and not yet completed at the time of Crick's letter, showed how the shape of tRNA made the molecule capable of capturing alanine and carrying it to the positions in the polypeptide chain where it was called for.
Original Repository:
The Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers
Location:
Box: 36. Folder: PP/CRI/E/1/13/10
Rights:
Reproduced with permission of the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. and http://library.wellcome.ac.uk/
Genre:
Letters (correspondence)
Subject:
Genetic Code
Format:
Text
Extent:
1 pages
Relation:
Letter from Marshall W. Nirenberg to Francis Crick, 1965
Language:
English
Legacy Source Citation:
Original Repository. Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers. 11646. URL. http://archives.wellcome.ac.uk/
Legacy ID:
SCBBDB
NLM ID:
101584582X32
Profiles Collection:
The Francis Crick Papers
Story Section:
Deciphering the Genetic Code, 1958-1966