Download Ahead of the Curve: David Baltimore's Life in Science by Shane Crotty PDF

By Shane Crotty

In Fifties, Watson and Crick confirmed a so-called "central dogma" in molecular biology: DNA makes RNA, and RNA makes proteins. even if, round 1970, teams in US discovered the 1st exception of this rule. David Baltimore's and Howard Temin's groups chanced on that RNA makes DNA! This unforeseen discovering of theirs in cancer-causing RNA viruses not just made this box up-side down, but additionally opened a brand new street referred to as "recombinant expertise" a decade later, for cloning genes and transfering any gene from one species to a different nearly at will. therefore, Baltimore and Temin shared a Nobel prize in 1975. Baltimore's greatness prolonged past the technological know-how. He seen this global in an "unconventional" demeanour. He married a highly-talented chinese language biologist, and protested opposed to the hugely arguable US wars in Vietnam and Iraq. He has an outstanding knowledge which shall we examine from this well-written biography.

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Fortunately she was kind to him. When he asked about getting bacteria and bacteriophage, she took him to see George Streisinger. One of the great experimenters of phage genetics, Streisinger had earned his doctorate under Luria and made scientific contributions to the study of phage proteins, genes, and chromosome structure. When Baltimore first saw him, Streisinger was standing next to a lab bench, wearing shorts and flip-flops and drinking Coca-Cola, pleasantly curious about the new arrival. Baltimore glanced around the lab and saw several laboratory workbenches, a few stools, a shelf full of bottled chemicals, and a couple of high windows.

This time around, Levinthal was committed to handling the DNA gently. Quick results were imperative, because other labs were racing for the same 36 apprenticeships goal, and modern biology is littered with stories of also-rans. Getting scooped on projects, often as not after years of work, is commonplace for biologists but no less painful on that account. Once a discovery is made, people race to build on that discovery, leading to more discoveries and more steeplechases. Competition, coupled with curiosity, was and always will be biologists’ fundamental motivator.

As with most history, another reality existed within and parallel to this one: Darnell’s. That day at Cold Spring Harbor, two conversations happened simultaneously and contradictorily between Darnell and Baltimore. Darnell heard himself suggest that he needed the summer to set up his lab and get settled, but that Baltimore could join the lab once autumn rolled apprenticeships 41 around. Baltimore heard Darnell politely turn him down. ” Acknowledging the myth of a singular history, neither man harbored hard feelings, and David would join Darnell’s lab soon enough.

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