Biological Organization at the Cellular and Supercellular Level: A Symposium Held at Varenna, 24-27 September, 1962, under the Auspices of UNESCO

By R. J. C. Harris | Go to book overview

PREFACE

At a meeting in Louvain in June 1960 of the consultants for the Cell Biology Programme of IUBS it was agreed with the Department of Natural Sciences of UNESCO that a symposium, sponsored by UNESCO, should be held in 1962 on the subject of Biological Organization at the Cellular and Supercellular Level.

UNESCO asked me to organize this symposium, in consultation with Professor A. Buzzati-Traverso.

Although this symposium was the natural successor to that held in Edinburgh in 1957 on "Biological Organization, Cellular and Subcellular," and organized for UNESCO by Professor C. H. Waddington, it was agreed to follow a different procedure so far as the general design of the meeting was concerned. Although we proposed to try to 0 keep it as informal as possible, the conventional form of presentation of prepared papers followed by discussion was adopted. This procedure allowed us to publish the contributions in book form to provide us with some more information on some of the most intriguing problems of current cell biology.

The organization of a symposium along these lines did not require such laborious preparatory work as did the Edinburgh meeting. However, in order to avoid a mere repetition of the former symposium, careful attention was given to defining the fundamental outlines of the meeting.

In the preparation of the programme Professor R. Dulbecco (who was also to have participated but was prevented by personal reasons) gave useful advice, and the final choice of papers reflects largely the ideas of Dulbecco on the one hand, and of myself and Buzzati-Traverso on the other.

In this symposium no particular emphasis has been given to the biochemical aspects. Nonetheless, the models for gene function which have been developed during the last few years, gave a peculiar character to the meeting, in that attempts were made to extend to multi-cellular organisms the simple mechanisms found in bacteria, and to look for a common language between geneticists, embryologists and cancerologists.

The forty participants from eleven different countries (including sixteen speakers and twenty-four others invited to participate in the

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