Muller_Variation_due_to_Changes_in_the_individual_gene_1922

Muller_Variation_due_to_Changes_in_the_individual_gene_1922...

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VARIATION DUE TO CHANGE IN THE INDIVIDUAL GENE DR. H. J. MULLER The University of Indiana Muller, H. J. 1922. Variation due to change in the individual genes. The American Naturalist , 56: 32-50. In this remarkably prescient analysis, Muller lays out the paradoxical nature of the genetic material. It is apparently both autocatalytic (i.e., directs its own synthesis) and heterocatalytic (i.e., directs the synthesis of other molecules), yet only the heterocatalytic function seems subject to mutation. With this, he defines the key problems that must be solved for a successful chemical model of the gene. Muller also anticipated the ultimate development of molecular genetics: That two distinct kinds of substances — the d'Hérelle substances (NOTE: viruses) and the genes — should both possess this most remarkable property of heritable variation or "mutability," each working by a totally different mechanism, is quite conceivable, considering the complexity of protoplasm, yet it would seem a curious coincidence indeed. It would open up the possibility of two totally different kinds of life, working by different mechanisms. On the other hand, if these d'Hérelle bodies were really genes, fundamentally like our chromosome genes, they would give us an utterly new angle from which to attack the gene problem. They are filterable, to some extent isoluble, can be handled in test tubes, and their properties, as shown by their effects on the bacteria, can then be studied after treatment. It would be very rash to call these bodies genes, and yet at present we must confess that there is no distinction known between the genes and them. Hence we cannot categorically deny that perhaps we may be able to grind genes in a mortar and cook them in a beaker after all. Must we geneticists become bacteriologists, physiological chemists and physicists, simultaneous-ly with being zoologists and botanists? Let us hope so.
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© 1996, Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project This electronic edition is made freely available for scholarly or educational purposes, provided that this copyright notice is included. The manuscript may not be reprinted or redistributed for commercial purposes without permission.
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© 1996, Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project This electronic edition is made freely available for scholarly or educational purposes, provided that this copyright notice is included. The manuscript may not be reprinted or redistributed for commercial purposes without permission. Muller, H. J. 1922. Variation due to change in the individual genes. The American Naturalist , 56: 32-50. VARIATION DUE TO CHANGE IN THE INDIVIDUAL GENE 1 DR. H. J. MULLER The University of Indiana I. THE RELATION BETWEEN THE GENES AND THE CHARACTERS OF THE ORGANISM The present paper will be concerned rather with problems, and the possible means of attacking them, than with the details of cases and data. The opening up of these new problems is due to the fundamental contribution which genetics has made to cell physiology
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Muller_Variation_due_to_Changes_in_the_individual_gene_1922...

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