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What Viruses Might Do for a Living

Imagine, if you will, a committee of our brightest biochemists meeting in the late 1960s trying to make guesses about what might be happening next in the field of molecular biology. If they'd stayed up all night for weeks at a time, it is highly improbable that anyone could have guessed that recombinant DNA would happen next, or that this research technology would soon become the most important advance in biological science of the 20th century, much less that we would be purifying and scrutinizi

Lewis Thomas
Imagine, if you will, a committee of our brightest biochemists meeting in the late 1960s trying to make guesses about what might be happening next in the field of molecular biology. If they'd stayed up all night for weeks at a time, it is highly improbable that anyone could have guessed that recombinant DNA would happen next, or that this research technology would soon become the most important advance in biological science of the 20th century, much less that we would be purifying and scrutinizing at first hand any gene of interest in the whole biosphere by simply inserting it into an appropriate vehicle or attaching it to one virus or another and growing genes of our choice in vat-sized batches.

It's already commonplace to hear that the next great surge in biomedical science, already well underway, will be in the field of neurobiology, and I agree with this one....

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