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Letter from William Hayes to Joshua Lederberg

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UNIVERSITY OF LONDON DEPARTMENT OF BACTERIOLOGY. POSTGRADUATE MEDICAL SCHOOL OF LONDON ‘. rakvms POSGRADMED CHISK LONDON rekphcm SHEphardr Bush 1260 (4 lind DUCANE'ROAD LONDON, W. I2 20th,February,1952; Dear Dr.Lederberg, - ._ Thank you for your last air-letter of January 7,telling me your findings on the relation of lambda to recombination,which probably saved me much I would have otherwise have felt obliged to exclude lambda myself as the agent. Since I do not have any technical assistance this would have occupied a considerable amount of my time. I must apologise for not having written to you since,but I thought I would wait until I had some information to give you,and until my reprint; were ready to send. I now enclose 4 reprintpof the ~stseptomycinr article,together with a typescript of another letter to Nature on the 0 differential action of W light, As a result of these findings of mine I considered it reasonable to adopt,as a working hypothesis,the view that W677 accepted but did not liberate a gamete while the majority of cells. in'58-161 cultures behaved in the opposite manner, lavallirs finding that W 677,unlike K 12(wild type),58-161 and pr~ototrophs,was not interfertile tended to confirm this view,as did my confi?mation of Cavalli's finding that prototrophs havin % the W 677 phenotype of marker characters can recombine readily with W 77,and that the fertility of such prototrophs could be enhanced by UV in the same manner as 58-161. It seemed to me- that interfertiPity It in gene donator cultures could best be explained by supposing that a small proportion of the population of such cultures became gene acceptors by spontaneously losing. their gamete+ This appears to happen in populations of bacteria which carry latent phage,a good example being the reversion of Salm.typhi type F2 to type Fl through complete loss of the latent phage which appears to determine the type specificity of Vi antigen,as has rece

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