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Recombinant DNA Fermenter, circa 1977

By | April 1, 2009

Fermenters like this one used genetically-manipulated bacteria to produce the first human insulin in 1977 and the first human growth factor in 1979. Credit: © SSPL / Science Museum" />Fermenters like this one used genetically-manipulated bacteria to produce the first human insulin in 1977 and the first human growth factor in 1979. Credit: © SSPL / Science Museum In 1972, Uni

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Alzheimer's Pathology, circa 1906

By | March 1, 2009

Alzheimer's drawing of a histological section from his second patient, Johann F. Credit: Image supplied by author, obtained from Zeitschrift fur die Gesamte Neurologie und Pyschiatrie, 1911." />Alzheimer's drawing of a histological section from his second patient, Johann F. Credit: Image supplied by author, obtained from Zeitschrift fur die Gesamte Neurologie und Pyschiatrie, 1911. On

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Darwin vs. His Dad, circa 1831

By | February 1, 2009

In a letter to his father, Robert, Charles listed the elder Darwin's objections to his proposed voyage around the world. Credit: Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library" />In a letter to his father, Robert, Charles listed the elder Darwin's objections to his proposed voyage around the world. Credit: Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library

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Miller-Urey Amino Acids, circa 1953

By | January 1, 2009

Credit: Courtesy of Adam Johnson" /> Credit: Courtesy of Adam Johnson When chemistry graduate student Stanley Miller first heard University of Chicago professor and Nobel laureate Harold Urey's idea that organic compounds, such as amino acids, arose in a reducing atmosphere, Miller was determined to find out. Together, they built the spark-charge apparatus—two glass flasks connected by glass t

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The discovery of DNA, circa 1869

By | December 1, 2008

Miescher's laboratory located in an old Tübingen castle kitchen. Credit: Courtesy of Tübingen University Library" />Miescher's laboratory located in an old Tübingen castle kitchen. Credit: Courtesy of Tübingen University Library In the winter of 1869, the young Swiss doctor, Friedrich Miescher, was attempting nothing less than to uncover the biochemical nature of life using

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Cholesterol and NPC1, circa 1997

By | November 1, 2008

NPC1's amino acid sequence homology to PATCHED, human HMG-CoA reductase and SCAP. Credit: Reprinted with permission from AAAS / Carstea et al., Science 277:228, 1997." />NPC1's amino acid sequence homology to PATCHED, human HMG-CoA reductase and SCAP. Credit: Reprinted with permission from AAAS / Carstea et al., Science 277:228, 1997. In the 1990s, the Ara Parseghian Foundation donated money to the National I

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Viral Cell Entry, circa 1980

By | October 1, 2008

In the late 1970s, scientists were divided on how viruses enter and infect host cells. Some investigators thought viruses were directly penetrating the cell membrane into the cytoplasm, while others argued the pathogens were first engulfed into clathrin-coated pits. As evidence, both sides used static electron microscopy images, which told different stories "depending on how you took the pictu

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First Actin-binding Protein, circa 1975

By | September 1, 2008

Inverted tubes of gelled macrophage supernate (left) and water (right) for comparison. Credit: © Stossel, T.P., and J.H. Hartwig originally published in J Cell Biol 68:602-619, 1976." />Inverted tubes of gelled macrophage supernate (left) and water (right) for comparison. Credit: © Stossel, T.P., and J.H. Hartwig originally published in J Cell Biol 68:602-619, 1976. It w

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The Mendel-Nägeli letters, circa 1866-73

By | August 1, 2008

Samples of the correspondence Credit: Courtesy of the Mendelianum, Brno, Czech Republic." />Samples of the correspondence Credit: Courtesy of the Mendelianum, Brno, Czech Republic. On New Year's Eve, 1866, Gregor Mendel wrote to the prominent Swiss botanist Carl Nägeli to tell him about his now classic experiments with Pisum peas. In the margins of the letter, Nägeli scribbled a note: "only empirical and not rational."

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First Patch Clamp, circa 1974

By | July 1, 2008

Erwin Neher and Bert Sakmann's patch clamp. Credit: © Deutsches Museum" />Erwin Neher and Bert Sakmann's patch clamp. Credit: © Deutsches Museum In the 1950s, scientists began to suspect that single-ion channels existed, but it took them another quarter century to verify it. In 1974, physicist Erwin Neher and cell physiologist Bert Sakmann at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttin

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