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Letter from Joshua Lederberg to the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine

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  • Physics


5. as a result of exposure to UX+ and had thus become sensitive to reinfection. Ir (Prophages, especially noninducible or defective ones, often turn up in well- known strains of bacteria.) Owing to the work of Lwoff and Bertani (Chapter 61, temperate phages were already subjects of renewed interest in 1951. When lederberg and Lederberg (1953) found that A prophage segregates with certain bacterial genes (gal) in crosses between lysogenic and nonlysogenic bacteria, interest quickened. Here was the first clue to what had always seemed a contradiction in terms: hereditary transmission of a virus from cell to cell. Ten years of intensive work were needed before bacterial crosses -in general, and A-c& linkage in particular, could be understood. Eventually it was shown that h prophage is inserted into the bacterial chromosome between gal and bio by a locus-specific and phage- specific mechanism of genetic recombination (Chapter 6). The prophage location, together with another novel kind of genetic recombination, also account for the propensity of h to form transducing phages that disseminate c& and bio genes among bacteria (Chapter 8). Historical matters are dealt with by Stent (1263) and Campbell (19691, and in the various chapters of this book. In the bibliography of this chapter we m S&&l O‘& list as a separate [email protected] some unselected early publications concerning A. y/je d&&&c L‘& Oi( ht&iC ;lcc Their titles present m of how it all started. Taxonomy Lambda is one of a number of naturally occurring phages that have three properties in common: they recombine when crossed with one another, their DNA molecules terminate in similar or identical nucleotide sequences (Chapter 51, and their prophages are inducible by ultraviolet irradiation. The known members Memo from To: Al H. JOSHUA LEDERBERG JUL 1 5 BII

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