22 offprints, mimeographs, etc. on molecular biology and bacterial genetics, with two others

Jacob, Monod, Lwoff, and Brenner

Publication Date: 1968
Soft cover
From Jeremy Norman's historyofscience (Novato, CA, U.S.A.)

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Jacob, Francois (1920- ); Monod, Jacques (1910-75); Lwoff, Andre (1902-94); & Brenner, Sydney (1927- ). Group of 22 offprints, mimeographs, etc. on molecular biology and bacterial genetics, together with 2 related papers by other authors. Various sizes. 1947-1968. Together in one volume, cloth, "Institut Pasteur" in gilt on the spine. Overall good to very good; see detailed condition descriptions below. From the library of G. G. and Elinor Meynell, authors of Theory and Practice in Experimental Biology (1970), with their address label on the front endpaper and ownership signatures on several of the offprints. First / First Separate Editions. Jacob, Monod and Lwoff, all colleagues at the Institut Pasteur, received the 1965 Nobel Prize in physiology / medicine for their discoveries concerning genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis-discoveries that "opened up a new field of research that deserved to be called 'molecular biology'" (Magill, The Nobel Prize Winners: Physiology or Medicine, II, p. 921). Their work answered the fundamental question of how the hereditary information contained in DNA can be translated into the chemical processes that synthesize cellular proteins (this question had been posed most succinctly and explicitly in Francis Crick's theoretical paper "On protein synthesis" [1957], which laid the groundwork for over a decade's worth of research in this area). Brenner, another key figure in this field, worked with Jacob and Matthew Meselson on providing experimental evidence for messenger RNA; he was awarded a share of the 2002 Nobel Prize for his discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death. The collection we are offering here focuses largely on the Nobel Prize-winning work done by the Institut Pasteur group-Lwoff, Jacob and Monod-in the 1950s and 1960s. The work can be divided into four sections: (1) lysogeny and bacterial conjugation (2) expression of the genetic material via messenger RNA (3) the regulation of the genetic activity of bacterial cells by operons (4) the organization of bacterial genetic material. In the following paragraphs we will attempt to highlight the more important papers in this remarkable collection; however, all the papers here touch upon these central questions of molecular biology. Lysogeny, defined as the hereditary ability to produce the bacteriophage virus, is a peculiar type of infection in which the phage becomes part of the genetic material of a bacterial cell; in this non-infective form (prophage) it can then be inherited by succeeding generations of cells, becoming virulent only when some environmental stimulus causes the bacterium to produce and release phage. "Lysogeny brought a model for the interrelation between a virus and a cell. And also a model for the possible mode of action of carcinogenic agents, which could disturb something in this balance" (Judson, p. 368). Lwoff studied this phenomenon intensively in the late 1940s and early 1950s, successfully demonstrating the genetic nature of lysogeny (which was disputed by several scientists, including Delbruck) and discovering how it is induced. In 1953 he published an important review of the subject ("Lysogeny," Bacteriological Review 17; see no. 2 below). Lysogeny was also studied by Jacob and Elie Wollman, whose paper, "Induction of phage development in lysogenic bacteria" (CSH Symposia on Quant. Biol. 18 [1953]; see no. 5 below) summarizes what had been learned about lysogeny as of that date. Lwoff's work on lysogeny inspired Jacob and Wollman to investigate the phenomenon of bacterial conjugation (the transfer of genetic information from a male donor bacterium to a female recipient, resulting in genetic recombination) to see if they could discover where in the bacterium's genetic material the prophage was located. In 1955, working with a highly recombinant strain of E. coli (K12) discovered by William Hayes, Jacob and Wollman performed what came to be known as their "coitus interruptus" experiment, in which they used a Waring blender to interrupt the mating bacteria at various stages of their conjugation. They found that the donor cell's genetic characteristics were not transferred all at once, but rather sequentially over time-a discovery of great importance. "Wollman and Jacob had stumbled upon a way to measure off the genes on [the] bacterial chromosome as directly and physically as a child squeezes toothpaste onto a brush or a carpenter unrolls a coiled steel tape measure. As they saw instantly, and reported in a note in mid-June 1955 in the weekly Comptes rendus of the Academie des Sciences ["Sur le mecanisme du transfert de materiel genetique au cours de la recombinaison chez E. coli K12"; see no. 6 below], they had the means to make a genetic map of biochemical characteristics expressed in units of time" (Judson, p. 385). In 1956 Wollman and Jacob published the first (albeit rudimentary) timed map of the K12 strain of E. coli in a paper published in France. This map was printed again in their English-language paper "Conjugation and genetic recombination in E. coli K-12" (CSH Symposia on Quant. Biol. 21 [1956]; see no. 8 below), which also contained the first publication of Thomas Anderson's famous electron micrograph of two conjugated bacteria. In 1958 Jacob delivered his paper "Transfer and expression of genetic information in E. coli K12" (see no. 9 below) at a symposium in Brussels; this paper, together with one given by Jacob's sometime colleague Arthur Pardee, "ranged over the whole matter of transfer of genes between bacteria and the regulation of their expression" (Judson, p. 400). Jacob and Wollman had originally represented the hereditary material in linear form, while stating that the genetic map could be formally represented as a circle. In 1963, at a Cold Spring Harbor conference, the researcher J. Cairns provided physical evidence that the E. coli chromosome was circular; at this same conference, Jacob, Brenn. 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Title: 22 offprints, mimeographs, etc. on molecular...

Publication Date: 1968

Binding: Soft cover

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