The Forgotten Promise of Thiamin: Merck, Caltech Biologists, and Plant Hormones in a 1930s Biotechnology Project [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of the History of Biology 32 (2):245 - 261 (1999)
The physiology of plant hormones was one of the most dynamic fields in experimental biology in the 1930s, and an important part of T. H. Morgan's influential life science division at the California Institute of Technology. I describe one episode of plant physiology research at the institution in which faculty member James Bonner discovered that the B vitamin thiamin is a plant growth regulator, and then worked in close collaboration with the Merck pharmaceutical firm to develop it as a growth-boosting agrichemical. This episode allows one to draw continuities between certain fields of life science in the United States circa 1940 and the biotechnology industry today, and also foregrounds a number of similarities between plant physiology of the late 1930s and the molecular biology of the period.
|Keywords||biotechnology plant physiology plant growth substances agricultural history molecular biology California Institute of Technology B vitamins|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Jean-Paul Gaudillière (2005). Introduction: Drug Trajectories. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 36 (4):603-611.
Jean-Paul Gaudillière (2005). Introduction: Drug Trajectories. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (4):603-611.
Similar books and articles
M. Lafarge (1991). Reciprocal Conditioning Between the “Plant Stand” Level and the “Ndividual Whole Plant” Level During the Formation of the Ear Population of a Spring Cereal Crop. Acta Biotheoretica 39 (3-4):343-350.
A. G. Wheeler (1981). The Tarnished Plant Bug: Cause of Potato Rot?: An Episode in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Entomology and Plant Pathology. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 14 (2):317 - 338.
Jean-Louis Durand, Claude Varlet-Grancher, Gilles Lemaire, François Gastal & Bruno Moulia (1991). Carbon Partitioning in Forage Crops. Acta Biotheoretica 39 (3-4):213-224.
Marianne Benard, Huib de Vriend, Paul van Haperen & Volkert Beekman (2010). Science and Society in Dialogue About Marker Assisted Selection. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 23 (4):317-329.
Anna Lydia Svalastog, Petter Gustafsson & Stefan Jansson (2006). Comparative Analysis of the Risk-Handling Procedures for Gene Technology Applications in Medical and Plant Science. Science and Engineering Ethics 12 (3):465-479.
Petra Werner & Frederic L. Holmes (2002). Justus Liebig and the Plant Physiologists. Journal of the History of Biology 35 (3):421 - 441.
Thomas Wieland (2006). Scientific Theory and Agricultural Practice: Plant Breeding in Germany From the Late 19th to the Early 20th Century. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 39 (2):309 - 343.
Donald N. Duvick (1995). Biotechnology is Compatible with Sustainable Agriculture. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 8 (2):112-125.
Ramsey Affifi (2013). Learning Plants: Semiosis Between the Parts and the Whole. [REVIEW] Biosemiotics 6 (3):547-559.
Christophe Bonneuil (2006). Mendelism, Plant Breeding and Experimental Cultures: Agriculture and the Development of Genetics in France. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 39 (2):281 - 308.
Sarah McGrath (2005). Causation by Omission: A Dilemma. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 123 (1-2):125--48.
Daniel Barthélémy (1991). Levels of Organization and Repetition Phenomena in Seed Plants. Acta Biotheoretica 39 (3-4):309-323.
Matthew Hall (2009). Plant Autonomy and Human-Plant Ethics. Environmental Ethics 31 (2):169-181.
E. Kelman, R. S. Levy & Y. Levy (2001). Optimization of Solutions for the One Plant Protection Problem. Acta Biotheoretica 49 (1):61-71.
Dr John S. Plant (2005). Modern Merthods and a Controversial Surname: Plant. Philosophical Explorations.
Added to index2011-05-29
Total downloads4 ( #462,278 of 1,780,970 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #291,797 of 1,780,970 )
How can I increase my downloads?