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Harbinger of danger

Biologists recognize Matthew Meselson, still working against chemical and bioweapons.

Betsy Mason(elmason@nasw.org)

The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) presented its Public Service Award on Sunday to biologist Matthew Meselson for nearly 40 years of campaigning against chemical and biological weapons programs.

Meselson, currently a professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at Harvard University, has had a long and distinguished career in molecular genetics. As a graduate student under Linus Pauling in 1953, Meselson, along with Frank Stahl, proved the theory of semi-conservative DNA replication with an experiment that has been called "the most beautiful experiment in biology." Later he worked with Sydney Brenner and Francois Jacob to describe messenger RNA for the first time.

Paul Berg, winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work with recombinant DNA, presented the award. He told the hundreds of biologists attending the ceremony, "We honor Matt not for his abundant research accomplishments, but for the impact he has had on...

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