Phage and the Origins of Molecular Biology

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John Cairns, Gunther Siegmund Stent, James D. Watson
CSHL Press, 2007 - Science - 394 pages
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This hugely influential book, published in 1966 as a 60th birthday tribute to Max Delbr ck, is now republished in a 40th anniversary edition. In addition to the landmark collection of 35 essays by pioneers of molecular biology, this edition contains an additional essay by Sydney Brenner, one of the few influential molecular biologists of the time not to contribute to the original book. The essay contains material prepared for the original edition, but not submitted at the time, and a newly written view of the phage group seen from the perspective of someone close to, but not an intimate member of, that famous school. This new edition also retains material added to the expanded 1992 edition, including Gunther Stent's obituary of Max Delbr ck, two commentaries on issues raised in the book reprinted from Scientific American and Science, and the preface in which John Cairns reflects on the book's creation and molecular biology's age of innocence. On first publication, the book was hailed as [introducing] into the literature of science, for the first time, a self-conscious historical element in which the participants in scientific discovery engage in writing their own chronicle. As such, it is an important document in the history of biology... (Journal of History of Biology). And in another review it was described as required reading for every student of experimental biology... [who] will sense the smell and rattle of the laboratory (Bioscience). The book was a formative influence on many of today's leading scientists.
 

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Contents

Waiting for the Paradox
3
A Physicist Looks at Biology
9
Some Recollections
23
The Target Theory
33
Optional or Obligatory?
43
II Phage Renaissance
52
OneStep Growth
53
Electron Microscopy of Phages
63
Bacterial Conjugation
216
Story and Structure of the λ Transducing Phage
226
V DNA
236
Growing Up in the Phage Group
239
Demonstration of the Semiconservation Mode of DNA Duplication
246
The Autoradiography of DNA
251
Multum in Parvo
257
The Relation between Nuclear and Cellular Division in Escherichia coli
264

The Eclipse in the Bacteriophage Life Cycle
79
The Prophage and I
88
The Injection of DNA into Cells by Phage
100
Transfer of Parentla Material to Progeny
109
Electron Microscopy of Developing Bacteriophage
116
III Phage Genetics
132
Phenotypic Mixing
133
Mating Theory
142
On the Physical Basis of Genetic Structure of Bacteriophage
150
Adventures in the rII Region
157
Conditional Lethals
166
IV Bacterial Genetics
171
Mutations of Bacteria and of Bacteriophage
173
Gene Transforming Principle and DNA
180
Sexual Differentiation in Bacteria
201
VI Ramifications of Molecular Biology
272
The Mammalian Cell
275
The Plaque Technique and the Development of Quantitative Animal Virology
287
Quantitative Tumor Virology
292
The Natural Selection Theory of Antibody Formation Ten Years Later
301
Cybernetics of the Insect Optomotor Response
313
Terminal Redundancy or Alls Well That Ends Well
334
VII Reprints
340
How Molecular Biology Started
343
That Was the Molecular Biology That Was
348
Timeline
379
Photo Gallery
381
Delbrück Centennial Celebration August 2006
388
Back Cover
395
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About the author (2007)

James Dewey Watson James D. Watson was born on April 6, 1928. Watson was an extremely industrious student and entered the University of Chicago when he was only 15. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology four years later, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in the same subject at Indiana University. He was performing research at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, when he first learned of the biomolecular research at the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University in England. Watson joined Francis Crick in this work in 1951. At the age of 25, he and colleague Crick discovered the structure of DNA, the double helix. Watson went on to become a Senior Research Fellow in Biology at the California Institute of Technology, before returning to Cambridge in 1955. The following year he moved to Harvard University, where he became Professor of Biology, a post he held until 1976. Watson and Crick won the 1962 Nobel Laureate in Medicine for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nuclear acids and its significance for information transfer in living material. In 1968, Watson published his account of the DNA discovery, "The Double Helix." The book became an international best-seller. Watson became the Director and later President of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. In 1988 he served as Director of the Human Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health, a massive project to decipher the entire genetic code of the human species. Watson has received many awards and medals for his work, along with the Nobel Prize, he has also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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