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Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Harold F. Blum

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NATIONAL CANCER lNSTlT”TE c/o Cepartment of Biology Princeton University Princeton, N.J. FEDERAL SECURITY AGENCY U. S. PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH January 29, 195’3 Dr. Joshua Lederberg Dewrtmen t of Genetics University of Wisconsin College of Agriculture Eladison 6, Wisconsin Dear Cr. Lederberg: Thank you for your letter of January 21st. I find myself inclining to the view which is more or less expressed in my book, that neobiogenesis was to a certain extent a prcduct of the conditions existing on the earth at a given period, including of course the lack of any livlnz systems at the time, plus some rel;:tively improbable event or events. I f*ind it dif'ficult to subscribe to the idea that such a procers is going on today; although,as you suggest, some of the steps may be going on. You suERest. that you want to put ycur ideas on the origin of life together from a geneticists view point, I hope you will do this and I should be very interested in seeing the paper. You ask me to send you reprints on the subject. Py own two papers previous to the book are pretty much discus:ed there, although I will try to find ccpies to send you. The one on photosynthesis has li.ttle bearing any rare. As to your reouest that I make specific references to the pages in the book that reflect my contributions to the subject, I feel that my only contribution to the subject is a synthesis, and that there are no particular parts of the took tnat I would want to emphasize beyond others. I have been ccnsiderably concerned with asking questions wnich I hope that others like . yourself wiil helo to answer. Earold F. Blum

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