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The importance of understanding molecular structure (Part 1)


1962: a new lab and a new way of working
Sydney Brenner Scientist
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In 1962 we moved to the new lab, where in fact we… these… many of these continued, mostly work on suppression, because the simplest idea of genetic suppression was that they were mutations of transfer RNA. So instead of a transfer RNA reading UA… reading for UAC, it could read UAG, because it had a mutation. And so the genetic and structural analyses of those occupied quite a lot of… of our activity. But I think already in this field, the… the whole sort of drama of doing it by genetics alone had disappeared, the whole of the analysis, and so this is when one began to turn one's… one's mind to higher things, or to other things at the time.

South African Sydney Brenner (1927-2019) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2002. His joint discovery of messenger RNA, and, in more recent years, his development of gene cloning, sequencing and manipulation techniques along with his work for the Human Genome Project have led to his standing as a pioneer in the field of genetics and molecular biology.

Listeners: Lewis Wolpert

Lewis Wolpert is Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine in the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology of University College, London. His research interests are in the mechanisms involved in the development of the embryo. He was originally trained as a civil engineer in South Africa but changed to research in cell biology at King's College, London in 1955. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1980 and awarded the CBE in 1990. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999. He has presented science on both radio and TV and for five years was Chairman of the Committee for the Public Understanding of Science.



Listen to Lewis Wolpert at Web of Stories



Tags: 1962

Duration: 1 minute, 5 seconds

Date story recorded: April-May 1994

Date story went live: 24 January 2008