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[Excerpts from an autobiography of William Hayes]

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  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


Features II William Hayes: Pioneering Contributions Reme.mbered After Hayes proposed oriented partial chromosome transfer dwiug bacterial conjugatioti, microbial genetics took a great leap fonunrd SmoN SILVER,JAMES SHAPIRO, NEIL MENDELSON, PAUL BIZODA, AND Jox BECKW IT William Hayes, who died in January 1994 in Aus- tralia, made a series of striking discoveries in microbial genetics 40 years ago. While serving as a senior lec- turer at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital in London during the early 195Os, his insights describing the nature of bacterial conjugation and gene transfer set the stage for major advances in bacterial genetics and, more broadly, mo- lecular biology in the decades that followed. In a remarkably productive 2 years, Hayes outlined how bacterial conjugation involves ordered transfer of chro- mosome segments from a donor (“male”) cell to a recipient (“female”) cell rather than by cell fusion, identified the nonchromosomal F factor in Escherichia coli that determines maleness in such bacterial cells, and isolated a male donor strain with 10 thousand times the ordinary gene transfer frequency. In addition to his research on conjugation and sex plasmids, Hayes established the first microbial genetics research unit and wrote the defining textbook on microbial molecular genetics. Hayes was educated and had his first exposure to Simon Silver (corresponding author) is at the De- partment of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Illinois, Chicago; James Shapiro is at the Depart- ment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Univer- sity of Chicago, Chicago, IX; Neil Mendelson is at the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson; Paul Broda is at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, Manchester, United Kingdom; and Jon Beckwith is at the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School,

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