LSF Magazine Winter 2014

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The Supporting Cast: Sixty years after the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA. Back to the Future: A brief history of biofuels. The Double Helix: Inspired by Jim Watson's book.

Transcript of LSF Magazine Winter 2014

  • Winter 2014LSF Magazine

    Telling the Story of Biotechnology

    Double Helix The Supporting Cast

  • 46






    Departments04 LSF News

    Updates on the Foundation and affiliates

    08 Biotech BookshelfAffordable Excellence, by William Haseltine

    Frankensteins Cat, by Emily Anthes Spillover, by David Quammen

    10 LSF Oral History ProgramWilliam K. Bowes, Jr., native history maker

    14 Gems from the ArchivesThe GeneCo business plan

    16 Twenty Years AgoMedImmunes Wayne Hockmeyer bets the farm

    20 ObituariesLen Herzenberg Fred Sanger Jim Vincent

    Features26 Restriction Enzymes

    The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

    history conference

    28 The Double HelixInspired by Jim Watsons book

    32 The Supporting CastSixty years after the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA

    44 The World Food PrizeMary-Dell Chilton, Robert T. Fraley, and Marc

    Van Montagu

    46 Back to the FutureA brief history of biofuels14

  • Mark Jones

    Editor Mark Jones

    Associate Editors Brian Dick Brianna Rego Lind

    Production Manager Donna Lock

    Design/Layout Zachary Rais-Norman

    Contributors John Anderson Brian Dick Mark Jones Brianna Rego Lind Gavin Rynne Sarah C.P. Williams

    Copyright 2014 Life Sciences Foundation All rights reserved

    On the cover: photoillustration by Garrett Miller

    From top to bottom: James D. Watson

    Francis Crick Lawrence Bragg

    Jerry Donohue Linus Pauling

    Rosalind Franklin Maurice Wilkins

    Sixty years have passed since Jim Watson and Francis Crick figured out the molec-ular structure of DNA. At that time, only biochemists, molecular biologists, and geneticists took notice (and many were not yet convinced that DNA was the essential stuff of genetic inheritance). Virtually no one else had heard of DNA. There were no press conferences or newspaper headlines.

    Times have changed. Although the gen-eral public remains poorly informed about molecular genetics (for example, 71 percent of respondents to a 2010 survey conducted by the US National Institutes of Health agreed that there are different types of genes in different parts of the body), DNA has entered the vernacular. People of all ages are continually reminded of its significancein biology classes at school, at the doctors office, in newspapers, on the Internet, at the movies, and so on.

    Over the past sixty years, the masses have come to understand that DNA carries genetic information, plays a central role in inheritance, can be used to identify individ-uals and establish kinship relationships, and is implicated in certain kinds of disease. In 2003, a Harris poll found that when asked What does DNA stand for, two-thirds of respondents were able to recognize deoxy-ribonucleic acid as the correct answer. The details may be fuzzy, but the importance and

    value of DNA is widely recognized.

    In the United States, popular support is strong for federal funding of genomics research. The results of a survey published last month by investigators from Yale University and New York Universi-ty show that, even amidst broad calls for fiscal austerity, 57 percent of Americans believe that the government should spend more on genomics. Millions have been persuaded that greater knowledge of DNA will be beneficial and should be prioritized.

    A comparative measure of perceived value: in November 2012, the Nobel Prize medal awarded to physicist Niels Bohr was put on the auction block in Denmark. Bohr received the medal in 1922 for describing the struc-ture of the atoman advance in knowledge that led eventually to the atomic bomb, nuclear energy, the integrated circuit, and the big screen TV. The high bidder paid the kro-ner equivalent of $48,000 US. In April of last year, the Crick family trust auctioned Francis Cricks 1962 Nobel Prize medal in New York City. The bidding passed the $1 million mark in less than a minute. The final sale price, paid by Chinese-American businessman Jack Wang, was $2.2 million.

    From the editor

    Winter 2014LSF Magazine

    Telling the Story of Biotechnology

    Double Helix The Supporting Cast

  • 2 LSF Magazine Winter 2014

    Dear Friends,

    As Chairman of the Board of the Life Sciences Foundation, I want to express my personal gratitude, along with the rest of the Board, to all the individuals and corporations who have made financial contributions to LSF since our founding just three years ago. Without your investment, the Foundations important work of capturing the history, preserving the heritage, and sharing the stories of biotechnology could not happen.

    With your support, LSF is quickly becoming the definitive source for complete and credible information about the history of biotechnology. To start bringing this story to even more people in the coming months, the Foundation will be launching a series of education pilots in partnership with leading formal and informal education providers throughout the country. LSF is also rede-signing its website and increasing its multimedia and social media activities to enable all of us to participate directly in sharing our stories with future generations of scientists and entrepreneurs.

    The following listing of cumulative gifts represents the many generous gifts and pledge commitments received by LSF from its inception in 2010 through the end of December 2013. The listing of annual gifts reflects gifts and pledge payments received during our 2013 Fiscal Year, from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013.

    We look forward to adding additional names to this dis-tinguished list of supporters and to increasing the number of those who have given so generously to help us launch LSF in its important mission. We have received generous three-year, $100,000 per year, commitments from two Board members who are challenging others to join them in supporting LSF. I join them in asking you to consider such a multi-year commitment at whatever level you can. Your ongoing support is critical as we work to become an impactful and sustained force for under-standing the life sciences. We are grateful for your interest and involvement.

    G. Steven Burrill

    Donor Recognition ProgramThe Life Sciences Foundation has devel-

    oped a new donor recognition program to enhance its relationship building, fundrais-ing, and stewardship efforts. We want to express our gratitude and recognize donors publicly for their generosity and good will. We will of course honor the wishes of those who wish to remain anonymous.

    The program recognizes both annual gifts and cumulative giving. The Founders Club recognizes cumulative commitments of $100,000 or more by any individual, family, corporation, or foundation. It contains four levels.

    LSF also recognizes annual donors with membership in the Presidents Club. Indi-viduals and families are recognized for gifts of $5,000 or more; corporations or foundations for gifts of $25,000 or more. The Presidents Club has five levels.

    $1,000,000+ The Darwin Circle for Charles Darwin, who conceptualized the fundamental dynamic of life in his theory of evolution.

    $500,000+ The Mendel Circle for Gregor Mendel, whose empirical research on patterns of inheritance laid the foundations of modern genetics.

    $250,000+ The Watson & Crick Circle for James D. Watson and Francis Crick who discovered the molecular structure of DNA.

    $100,000+ The McClintock Circle for Barbara McClintock whose studies of genes illuminated mechanisms of genetic change and regulation.

    Founders Club

    $100,000+ The Pasteur Circle for Louis Pasteur, the father of microbiology, who established the germ theory of disease.

    $50,000+ The Koch Circle for Robert Koch whose research postulates defined methods of inquiry in modern bacteriology and biomedicine.

    $25,000+ The Fleming Circle for Alexander Fleming who discovered penicillin and ushered in the age of antibiotics.

    $10,000+ The Crowfoot Hodgkin Circle for Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin who pioneered the analysis of biomolecular structures.

    $5,000+ The Salk Circle for Jonas Salk who championed the polio vaccine.

    Presidents Club

  • Winter 2014 LSF Magazine 3

    Donor RecognitionFounders Club

    Darwin CircleEli Lilly and Company

    Mendel CircleDaniel D. Adams

    Celgene Corporation

    Genentech, Inc.

    Johnson & Johnson

    Watson & Crick Circle William K. Bowes, Jr.

    Amgen Inc.

    Burrill & Company

    Merck & Co.

    Pfizer Inc.

    Quintiles Corporation

    Sigma-Aldrich Co.

    Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.

    McClintock CircleJoshua Boger

    Brook Byers Family

    Frederick Frank

    The Franklin & Catherine Johnson Foundation

    Mark Levin

    Fred Middleton

    Ivor Royston

    Alejandro Zaffaroni and the Zaffaroni Family

    Genzyme Corporation

    Millennium, The Takeda Oncology Company

    Presidents Club FY 2013

    Pasteur CircleDaniel D. Adams

    Alejandro Zaffaroni and the Zaffaroni Family

    Burrill & Company

    Johnson & Johnson

    Merck & Co.

    Millennium, The Takeda Oncology Company

    Quintiles Corporation

    Sigma-Aldrich Co.

    Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.

    Koch CircleCarl Feldbaum

    Dennis B. Gillings

    John C. Lechleiter

    Mark Levin

    Edward E. Penhoet

    Henri A. Termeer

    Genzyme Corporation

    MedImmune, LLC

    Ivor Royston

    Gabriel Schmergel

    Allergan Inc.

    BioMarin Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


    Jim C. Blair

    Martin S. Gerstel

    William J. Rutter

    Salk CircleAnthony B. Evnin

    Frederick Frank

    Alan C. Mendelson