a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Drosophilia and the mouse


Jean Louis Guénet and Jacques Oudin
François Jacob Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

I don't remember who hired him, who found him, yes, I think it was Fauve. He was Fauve's friend, did you know Fauve?

[Q] Yes, I knew Robert Fauve.

Who was in Garches and then came here. And who was the only one who was slightly used to working with organisms of the mouse type because he had been working on it for years. He knew what it was like to inject a mouse, whereas we were completely inapt. So he recruited Jean-Louis who was an incredible recruit. He immediately understood the importance of the project and he got down to work, with a lot of difficulty, because of Oudin... Oudin wanted Fauve to give him rabbits. And Fauve didn't want to.

[Q] But nevertheless, you had a mice animal house which was at the time one of the best in France.

I had mice animal house because I stole it from Oudin. It was the animal house which was initially supposed to be a rabbit one. So I went to talk to him for three hours with Monod who totally understood, and who said, 'All right, we'll work on the mouse'. To Oudin's great displeasure. Did you know Oudin?

[Q] Yes, I knew him. I sometimes found the concept he used difficult to understand.

I had a fantastic discussion with him, I don't know if you remember it, in the middle if the big lecture theatre. Because I said, 'We were talking about the way we worked'. I told him, 'We can't work if we don't start with a theory'. He said, 'Sir, I don't form theories, I do experiments'.

Je ne sais plus qui l'a recruté, qui l'a trouvé. Je crois, si c'est Fauve. C'était un copain de Fauve, vous l'avez connu Fauve?

[Q] Oui, je l'ai connu. Robert Fauve.

Qui, était à Garches et qui est venu ici. Et qui était le seul qui avait un peu l'habitude des organismes genre souris parce qu'il travaillait là-dessus depuis des années. Il savait ce que c'était que faire une injection à une souris, alors que nous, nous étions complètement inaptes. Donc il a recruté Jean-Louis qui était une formidable recrue. Il a immédiatement compris l'intérêt du projet et il s'est mis aussi, avec beaucoup de difficulté aussi, parce que à cause de Oudin... Oudin voulait que Fauve lui fasse des lapins. Et Fauve voulait pas.

[Q] Mais vous avez quand même eu une animalerie souris qui était une des meilleures à l'époque en France.

J'ai eu une animalerie souris parce que je l'ai volée à Oudin. C'était l'animalerie qui devait en principe être lapins. Alors je suis allé discuter pendant trois heures avec Monod qui a absolument compris, qui a dit, 'Bon, d'accord, on fait de la souris'. Au grand damne de Oudin. Vous l'avez connu Oudin?

[Q] Oui, je l'ai connu. J'avais du mal à comprendre quelquefois les concepts qu'il utilisait.

Moi j'ai eu une discussion fabuleuse avec lui, je ne sais pas si vous vous souvenez, au milieu du grand amphithéâtre. Parce que je lui ai dit, 'On a parlé de la façon dont on travaillait'. Je lui dis, 'On ne peut pas travailler si on ne commence pas avec une théorie'. Il me dit, 'Moi, monsieur, je ne fais pas de théorie, je fais des expériences'.

François Jacob (1920-2013) was a French biochemist whose work has led to advances in the understanding of the ways in which genes are controlled. In 1965 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, together with Jacque Monod and André Lwoff, for his contribution to the field of biochemistry. His later work included studies on gene control and on embryogenesis. Besides the Nobel Prize, he also received the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science for 1996 and was elected a member of the French Academy in 1996.

Listeners: Michel Morange

Michel Morange is a professor of Biology and Director of the Centre Cavaillès of History and Philosophy of Science at the Ecole Normale Supérieure. After having obtained a Bachelor in biochemistry and two PhDs, one in Biochemistry, the other in History and Philosophy of Science, he went on to join the research unit of Molecular Genetics headed by François Jacob, in the Department of Molecular Biology at the Pasteur Institute, Paris. Together with Olivier Bensaude, he discovered that Heat Shock Proteins are specifically expressed on the onset of the mouse zygotic genome activation. Since then he has been working on the properties of Heat Shock Proteins, their role in aggregation and on the regulation of expression of these proteins during mouse embryogenesis. He is the author of 'A History of Molecular Biology' and 'The Misunderstood Gene'.

Michel Morange est généticien et professeur à L'Université Paris VI ainsi qu'à l'Ecole Normale Supérieure où il dirige le Centre Cavaillès d'Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences. Après l'obtention d'une license en Biochimie ainsi que de deux Doctorats, l'un en Biochimie, l'autre en Histoire et Philosophie des Sciences, il rejoint le laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire dirigé par le Professeur François Jacob à l'Institut Pasteur. Ses principaux travaux de recherche se sont portés sur l'Histoire de la Biologie au XXème siècle, la naissance et le développement de la Biologie Moléculaire, ses transformations récentes et ses interactions avec les autres disciplines biologiques. Auteur de "La Part des Gènes" ainsi que de "Histoire de la Biologie Moléculaire", il est spécialiste de la structure, de la fonction et de l'ingénerie des protéines.

Tags: Jean Louis Guénet, Jacques Oudin, Robert Fauve

Duration: 1 minute, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008