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Volkin-Astrachan RNA and Phage


François Jacob and Jacques Monod
Sydney Brenner Scientist
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At the time then there was a… other people had begun to work on this RNA being made after phage infection and in fact there was a paper in which it had been suggested that this new RNA was in fact found in the presence of a small number of new ribosomes, and that got published later, and that everything was all right. Following… at the same time people working in Paris – this would be François Jacob and Jacques Monod – had come to realise that one could… one needed something special to explain enzyme induction. They had been studying the kinetics of enzyme induction after you add the gene to a cell and found that this happened extremely rapidly, and in fact by using various inhibitors they produced a number of alternatives, all of which just seemed quite strange. For example one of their alternatives was that the DNA for these enzymes made protein directly. There was no intermediate. But they were… they seemed to have excluded the possibility that new ribosomes were made to carry this, or if they were, they were a very small fraction and again capable of prodigious synthesis.

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: Paris, François Jacob, Jacques Monod

Duration: 1 minute, 42 seconds

Date story recorded: April-May 1994

Date story went live: 24 January 2008