The Origin of DNA:RNA Hybridization [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of the History of Biology 26 (1):89 - 107 (1993)
Besides its use in basic research, the DNA:RNA hybridization technique has helped the development of genetic engineering: it is instrumental in the isolation of specific genes that can be inserted into foreign cells, thus modifying their genetic information. Plants, animals, and microorganisms can now be altered to yield improved crops, pest-resistant plants, and a cheaper source of important proteins or drugs. The social relevance of genetic engineering received official sanction in 1980 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that genetically modified organisms can be patented. In this article I have tried to describe the discovery of the DNA:RNA hybridization technique as the successful outcome of years of intelligent and patient research in many laboratories, of inductive and deductive processes in the minds of many biologists. The synthesis that led to the final result and to the early development of the technique was made possible by the coming together of two brilliant scientists, Sol Spiegelman and Benjamin Hall
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