TLW's Geneticistscope™ (Geneticist Historyscope)
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: Jan. 17, 2017. Last Update: Feb. 20, 2017.
Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to geneticist history. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.
In 1865 Austrian Augustinian monk (abbot) Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-84) pub. Mendel's Laws of Heredity ("In any given pair of contrasting traits, one trait is dominant and the other recessive" et al.), establishing the principle of basic units called genes, based on laborious experiments begun in 1857 on peas in the monastery garden in Brunn, incl. the principles of unit characters, dominance and recessiveness, segregation, and free assortment; pub. in the obscure Transactions of the Brunn Nat. History Society, they go almost unnoticed by biologists until 1900; meanwhile Charles Victor Naudin (1815-99) of France finds certain regularities in the inheritance of characteristics in plant hybridization experiments, but misses the big picture - and then it's McDonald's McGriddles, breakfast snack for you, bedtime snack for me? It's a breeze to correct the botanists who laid an egg? Skipping ahead, in 1900 European botanists Hugo Marie De Vries (1848-1935) of Holland, Karl (Carl) Erich Correns (1864-1933) of Germany, and Erich Tschermak von Seysenegg (von Tschermak-Seysenegg) (1871-1962) of Austria discover and confirm Mendel's 1865 research reports concerning pea plants and how inherited traits are determined by two "hereditary units", leading them to connect the new chromosomes discovered this year in cell nuclei to his work; English botanist William Bateson (1861-1926) becomes the main popularizer, coining the term "genetics" in 1905; Erich's brother Armin Eduard Gustav Tschermak von Sysenegg (1870-1952) also contributed, but didn't take credit? - this morning my hair was straight, then Greg called?
In 1927 Am. geneticist Hermann Joseph Muller (1890-1967) discovers that the rate of appearance of mutations in fruit flies is increased by exposure to X-rays, and pub. the paper "The Problem of Genetic Modification" at the Fifth Internat. Congress of Genetics in Berlin, making him an internat. celeb; by the 1950s this isn't such good news?
In 1944 Canadian-born Am. physician Oswald Theodore Avery Jr. (1877-1955), Canadian-Am. geneticist Colin Munro MacLeod (1909-72), and Am. geneticist Maclyn McCarty (1911-2005) determine that nuclear DNA acts as the carrier of genetic info., and transmutes one type of pneumococcus bacteria into a 2nd type by DNA transfer, founding Molecular Biology - how many years until we're all mixed bags of DNA from Noah's Ark?
The Science of Biology gets its Trinity of Watson-Crick-and-I-forget? On Feb. 28, 1953 Chicago-born U.S. biologist James Dewey Watson (1928-) and British Cambridge U. model-making molecular biologist Francis Harry Compton Crick (1916-2004) announce their discovery of "the secret of life", the neat transvestite double-helix structure of DNA, then pub. a 1-page article in the Apr. 25 issue of Nature, drooling "This structure has novel features that are of considerable biological interest", later sharing the 1962 Nobel Med. Prize for it with Kiwi physicist Maurice H.F. Wilkins (1916-2004), who verifies the structure with X-ray diffraction; meanwhile Wilkins' colleague Rosalind Elsie Franklin (1920-58) of Kings College, who also pub. an article in the Apr. 25 issue on her X-ray diffraction studies, and whose work allowed the discovery is left out of the prize - no wonder girls hate math?
On May 15, 1961 German biochemist J. Heinrich Matthaei (1929-) of NIH in Bethesda, Md. performs the Poly-U Experiment, becoming the first person to understand the genetic code, going on to work with Am. biochemist Marshall Warren Nirenberg (1927-2010) to synthesize repeated nucleotide sequences leading to the production of repeated single amino acids; too bad, Matthaei is snubbed for a Nobel Prize - something about the Nuremberg Trials?
In 1962 Am. molecular biologist Sol Spiegelman (1914-83) develops the technique of Nucleic Acid Hybridization, allowing the detection of specific DNA and RNA molecules in cells. In 1966 he helps discover an enzyme that allows RNA molecules to duplicate themselves - Pandora's Box is opened?
In May 1963 white British-born high-IQ Am. Nobel Physics Prize winner William Bradford "Bill" Shockley (1910-89) gives a Shocking Speech on Race vs. IQ at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minn. suggesting that the people least competent to survive in the world are reproducing the fastest; a year later he claims in an interview with U.S. News and World Report that U.S. blacks as a group score 15 points lower on IQ tests than U.S. whites, and suggests that the cause is hereditary intellectual inferiority, stirring up a firestorm of controversy - and that therefore black genes are like a computer virus and if you want a better Internet, belong to White America Online with all the Bells and Whistles and Virus Protection, or is there an inverse relationship between IQ and penis size, and evolution is somehow stepping on its own dick? In 1966 English psychologist Sir Cyril Burt (1883-1971) pub. his research on 53 pairs of monozygotic twins, indicating that IQ levels are determined mainly by inheritance; too bad, he burns his records before he dies, allowing his critics (who are rocked to their socks by the implications, esp. with loose cannon William Shockley on deck) to claim that he falsified his data, while not wanting any more research done of course, until other studies reproduce his results, after which they only become more entrenched?
In 1964 English evolutionary biologist William Donald "Bill" Hamilton (1936-2000) pub. Hamilton's Rule of Genetics (Inclusive Fitness Theory), that a costly action should be performed if its cost in fitness to the actor is less than the genetic relatedness between the actor and the recipient multiplied by the fitness benefit to the recipient; founds the field of Social Evolution.
In 1966 Am. biochemists Marshall Warren Nirenberg (1927-2010), Har Gobind Khorana (1922-2011), and Robert William Holley (1922-93) of the U.S. crack the Genetic Code, determining which sequences of three nucleotides correspond to each of the 20 amino acids, and demonstrating the existence of Messenger RNA (mRNA), winning them the 1968 Nobel Med. Prize; meanwhile Am. molecular biologist Sol Spiegelman (1914-83) et al. of the U.S. discover an enzyme that allows RNA molecules to duplicate themselves - Pandora's Box is opened?
In 1975 Argentine biochemist Cesar Milstein (1927-2002) and his German-born student Georges Jean Franz Kohler (Köhler) (1946-95), and English-born Danish immunologist Niels Kaj Jerne (1911-94) of Cambridge U. discover the hybridoma technique for making Monoclonal Antibodies by injecting a mouse with a target protein and harvesting antibodies from its spleen, becoming the first breakthrough toward a "magic bullet" to target disease, winning them the 1984 Nobel Med. Prize.
In 1976 Czech.-born Am. scientist Martin Frank Gellert (1929-) et al. of the Nat. Insts. of Health discover the enzyme Gyrase that allows double-helix DNA to form supercoils by unwinding it first.
In 1976 Japanese scientist Susumu Tonegawa (1939-) discovers that genes that produce antibodies move close together on a chromosome, recombine, and split into segments as needed to allow the immune system to adapt and produce millions of antibodies, winning him the 1987 Nobel Med. Prize.
In 1976 Am. scientists Harold Elliot Varmus (1939-) and John Michael Bishop (1936-) discover Oncogenes, genes in normal cells that can mutate and cause cancer.
In 1980 In Apr. Am. biologist David Botstein (1942-), Am. biochemist Ronald Wayne "Ron" Davis (1941-), and Am. scientist Mark Henry Skolnick (1946-) propose DNA Sequencing to develop gene markers for genetic diseases based on a genetic linkage map using restriction fragment length polymmorphisms, leading to the Human Genome Project.
In 1980 U.S. geneticists discover Hypervariable Regions in Genes, short DNA sequences that repeat in the same chromosome.
In 1982 Eli Lilly and Co. obtains FDA approval to market Humulin synthetic human insulin produced by Escherichia coli bacteria (developed by Genentech in 1978), becoming the first commercial genetic engineering product, and causing Recombinant DNA (rDNA) to go bigtime, causing a race to create new products, incl. Human Growth Hormone (HGH), Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF), and Tissue Plasminogen Activator (TPA); the first genetically-engineered crop plant is developed, a tomato.