Max Delbruck and Cologne: An Early Chapter of German by Simone Wenkel, Ute Deichmann

By Simone Wenkel, Ute Deichmann

The background of molecular biology in Germany is heavily associated with the Institute of Genetics in Cologne, the 1st molecular organic Institute at a German college. based in 1959 through the ?©migr?© physicist and destiny Nobel laureate Max Delbr??ck, the Institute used to be the 1st in Germany to enforce much less hierarchical American organizational buildings and learn conduct. The Institute had already won a good overseas clinical acceptance through the start of the Sixties. This quantity includes the memories of scientists bearing on the Institute s examine, association and different specificities. Articles by means of historians of technology examine the ancient history and foreign framework of the Institute's foundations and genetic learn. moreover, the scientists speak about modern questions of technological know-how coverage with reference to educating and the effect of the interior constructions of medical associations at the caliber of analysis.

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Moderne Biologie gab es wohl nur in Heidelberg und vor allem in Tübingen um Butenandt und um die Virus-Gruppe mit Georg Melchers, Gerhard Schramm, Hans Friedrich-Freksa, Werner Schäfer, Anton Lang und Wolfhard Weidel, dem ersten modernen Phagenmann in Deutschland. Die Zeit war hoch politisch — besonders betroffen was die Genetik — speziell die Humangenetik, eng verstrickt in die Verbrechen des Nationalsozialismus. Bis dahin führende Wissenschaftler wie Otmar v. Verschuer oder Fritz Lenz kämpften mit „Persilscheinen“ um frühere Positionen — bestens nachzulesen bei Benno Müller-Hill.

He wanted the Institute built with no disadvantage to the other biological institutes. He proposed direct physical connections between the institutes’ buildings, shared facilities and a “MONTAN-UNION”49 with much collaboration. But reality was less ideal. The unique characteristics and what were perceived to be certain financial privileges of the Institute of Genetics led to problems at the university. The newly founded Faculty for Mathematics and Sciences in Cologne was still busy rebuilding all the established institutes after the second world war.

Amino acids in proteins could be determined by selecting appropriate tryptic fragments and sequencing them. Henning used two missense mutants that carried different amino acids in a particular tryptic fragment. By recombination, he obtained wildtype recombinants and showed that they carried an amino acid different from those of both mutants. The codon for this amino acid consisted of one nucleotide from one and two from the other mutant sequences. Thus the wild type arose by recombination within a codon.

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