Ochoa Creates Synthetic RNA (Great Events from History II: Science and Technology Series)
Article abstract: Ochoa discovered a method for synthesizing the biological molecule ribonucleic acid (RNA), establishing that this process can occur outside the living cell.
Summary of Event
Transmission of parental characteristics to offspring in humans and other organisms has been assumed over the ages. Nevertheless, not until the mid-eighteenth century was a comprehensive theory put forth to outline the general biological parameters of heredity. These ideas, established by the insightful Austrian monk, Gregor Johann Mendel, are now known as classical, or Mendelian, genetics. By the early 7 twentieth century, Mendel’s ideas had been linked to cell theory (the idea that cells compose the fundamental units of life) by observations that cellular entities known as chromosomes carry Mendel’s hereditary units. The hereditary units had been named genes, and the work of Thomas Hunt Morgan and his colleagues at Columbia University rooted the new science of genetics firmly within the context of hereditary units being located as well-organized arrays of genes on chromosomes.
In the early decades of the twentieth century, genetics had not been experimentally united with biochemistry. This merging soon occurred, however, with work in the mold Neurospora crassa. This Nobel award-winning work by Edward Lawrie Tatum and George Wells Beadle showed that genes control production of proteins, which are major...
(The entire section is 2015 words.)
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