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

By Shane Crotty

In Nineteen Fifties, Watson and Crick confirmed a so-called "central dogma" in molecular biology: DNA makes RNA, and RNA makes proteins. despite the fact that, round 1970, teams in US stumbled on the 1st exception of this rule. David Baltimore's and Howard Temin's groups stumbled 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 road known as "recombinant know-how" a decade later, for cloning genes and transfering any gene from one species to a different nearly at will. consequently, Baltimore and Temin shared a Nobel prize in 1975. Baltimore's greatness prolonged past the technology. He seen this international 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 a good knowledge which shall we study from this well-written biography.

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Conversations were what made it such an invigorating place. People lounged on the ivy-covered terraces of the main buildings, talking for hours. James Watson, who later directed the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for many years, said: “I think during the summer, well, it is the most interesting place in the world, if you’re interested in biology. ” In addition, Cold Spring Harbor ran courses for researchers with lectures in the mornings and evenings. Baltimore, flushed with curiosity, attended some lectures.

However, the phage discoverer didn’t want to give his competitor the reagent that was making him famous. Scientists in this situation may take any number of evasive actions: they may send the wrong reagent, lie about it being lost in the mail, or stall, saying they are very busy. This particular competitor simply wrote a letter refusing to provide the reagent and apologized for any inconvenience. There were no “science police” to complain to, and so the young molecular biologist was left high and dry.

In 1957 Matthew Meselson and Frank Stahl proved how DNA replicates itself; and John Kendrew had just figured out the structure of the protein myoglobin, the first protein structure ever determined. It was obvious to Baltimore that modern biology was exploding, and Cold Spring Harbor was “the real world” of biology for him. Streisinger was an important influence on Baltimore. He remembered Streisinger with fondness years later: “He was an extraordinary man. . He was one of the unknown men of the field [because he rarely published his research].

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