The Coil of Life: The Story of the Great Discoveries in the Life Sciences

The Coil of Life: The Story of the Great Discoveries in the Life Sciences

The Coil of Life: The Story of the Great Discoveries in the Life Sciences

The Coil of Life: The Story of the Great Discoveries in the Life Sciences

Excerpt

The hidden continent of life is seldom explored by the non-biologist. Even those closest to this infinite matter have complained that it is an "impenetrable jungle." And yet in it lies the explanation of all that we are--our appearance, our diversity, our similarity, our continuity--and there is nothing of greater fascination or importance than the deciphering of nature's fine, orderly packing of all the determinants of life into the extremely tiny coil of DNA, and into its wrappings, the chromosome, the cell, the organs, and the body.

The discovery of the role of DNA and its drawing together of all the life sciences has at long last made it possible for the layman to approach the subject of life, and to aspire to an understanding of the amazing knowledge science is gaining of it. It was this that emboldened me to undertake this book.

I wish to express my most sincere thanks to the scientists who were so kind as to open their material to me, and to read and criticize the various parts of this book. At a considerable cost in time to themselves and, in some cases, to their staffs, they have given me invaluable help. In thanking them for this generous assistance, I do not want to imply that they are responsible for what I have written. The words of praise and appraisal, the emphasis, and selection are mine. With this clearance, I should like to thank Dr. George Wells Beadle, Dr. F. H. C. Crick, Dr. Heinz Fraenkel-Conrat, Dr. Ernest F. Gale, Dr. David E. Green, Dr. Alfred Day Hershey, Dr. Mahlon B. Hoagland, Dr. H. E. Huxley, Dr. Vernon M. Ingram, Dr. Arthur Kornberg, Dr. Joshua Lederberg, Dr. Daniel Mazia, Dr. A. A. Moscona, Dr. Herman J. Muller, Dr. Severo Ochoa and Peter Lengyel, Dr. Linus Pauling, Dr. S. MerylRose . . .

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