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Understanding the DNA model


The real concept of the DNA code
Sydney Brenner Scientist
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But that's also the first time when I saw that… I saw the real concept of the code there. Now that I think is the remarkable thing. That is that there were these two one-dimensional sequences, and it is the reduction of biology to one dimension in terms of information that is the absolute crucial step. Biology… biology had been three-dimensional, and a lot of people wanted it four-dimensional. But the whole idea that you could reduce it to one dimension is a very powerful idea. That you can just have linear sequences. Because it just makes the disentangling of everything so much easier to understand, makes copying easy to understand, it makes expression easy to understand, it makes the mapping easy to understand, and makes mutation easy to understand. And in fact once you've got this absolutely clear-cut conception, then you know, in this very small evangelical sect you realise that everybody else was talking nonsense.

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: DNA, biology

Duration: 1 minute, 22 seconds

Date story recorded: April-May 1994

Date story went live: 24 January 2008