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Maclyn McCarty dies

Scientist who helped prove DNA is carrier of genetic information was 93

Anne Harding(anne_harding@yahoo.com)

Maclyn McCarty, the last surviving member of the team that proved DNA is responsible for transmitting genetic information, died January 2 of congestive heart failure. He was 93.

Colleagues agreed it was McCarty's meticulous work and strong skills in biochemistry that helped bring Oswald T. Avery's 13-year effort to identify the "transforming principle" to a convincing conclusion. "It was his key input that really turned the story around to the fact that it was this material—otherwise, I think it would have taken longer to determine that," Vincent A. Fischetti, co-chair of the Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology at Rockefeller, told The Scientist. Fischetti joined McCarty's lab at Rockefeller as a technician 40 years ago.

Avery, who had been working on pneumococcus at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research since 1913, began searching for what he called the "transforming principle" in 1931, after being alerted to the problem...

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