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Charles Pomerat's polkadot shorts


Why Galveston tap water was special
Leonard Hayflick Scientist
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The accident here was, not only did the technician use Galveston tap water, but by this time, the city of Galveston, which had a rather corrupt government at that time, it was well known throughout the United States. The water supply for Galveston, which is a city on an island right off shore from the mainland of Texas, its water supply is supplied through a large pipe running under Galveston Bay from the mainland to the island, and that's a rather large diameter pipe, and that's the source of Galveston water.

Over the years corrosion occurred in this pipe, allowing Galveston... sea water to enter and mix with the fresh water. It so happened that the city leaders were persuaded not to make repairs in this pipe because it would have been a situation that would have annihilated all of the sellers of fresh water to residents of Galveston, so they paid off the city leaders not to repair the pipe. Well, that was a huge plus for science, because the osmolarity of the water that the technician had mistakenly used was hypotonic, which means that it allowed the cells to swell, and that's what provided the conditions for spreading the chromosomes. To this day people who use that technique, and there are thousands, when they make up the solution to provide the spreading phenomena, proper osmolarity, are essentially making Galveston tap water of the 1950s.

Leonard Hayflick (b. 1928), the recipient of several research prizes and awards, including the 1991 Sandoz Prize for Gerontological Research, is known for his research in cell biology, virus vaccine development, and mycoplasmology. He also has studied the ageing process for more than thirty years. Hayflick is known for discovering that human cells divide for a limited number of times in vitro (refuting the contention by Alexis Carrel that normal body cells are immortal), which is known as the Hayflick limit, as well as developing the first normal human diploid cell strains for studies on human ageing and for research use throughout the world. He also made the first oral polio vaccine produced in a continuously propogated cell strain - work which contributed to significant virus vaccine development.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Galveston, Texas

Duration: 2 minutes, 15 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2011

Date story went live: 08 August 2012