Finding catalytic RNA or ribozymes, Thomas Cech
Interviewee: Thomas Cech. Finding catalytic RNA or ribozymes. (DNAi Location: Timeline>1980s)
I was never interested in RNA, I knew very little about it, would occasionally belittle people in neighboring research groups who were working on RNA, saying why don't you work on something really interesting like DNA. And all of my research was directed towards understanding chromosomes, understanding genes, DNA, maybe interested in RNA only as far as it was the product of the expression of a gene, but not thereafter. So RNA really came looking for us, I think, more than we came looking for RNA. It was really in the course of mapping the RNAs that were produced by a particular gene that I started working on when I set up my first independent research lab at the University of Colorado at Boulder, 1978. Started working on this tetrahymena, it's a ciliated protozoan, a pond animal, tetrahymena gene that was repeated, amplified ten thousand times per cell so it provided a lot of, of the same gene doing the same thing at the same time. I thought it would be a good system for analysis.
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Thomas Cech and Sidney Altman discovered that RNA can have enzymatic activities. For this discovery, they shared the 1989 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
Ivan Wallin was one of the first proponents of the idea that mitochrondria are derived from bacteria.
Edward Tatum and George Beadle used Neurospora to prove that "one gene makes one protein." Tatum also had a role in starting bacterial genetics.
Stanley Miller and Harold Urey demonstrate that organic molecules can be synthesized under prebiotic conditions, and Thomas Cech and Sidney Altman show that RNA can have enzymatic activities.
DNA microarrays provide the means to analyze patterns of gene expression at different timepoints in a living cell.
Matthew Meselson and Franklin Stahl invented the technique of density gradient centrifugation and used this to prove that DNA is replicated semi-conservatively.
Recombinant DNA technology has made it possible to test gene function in bacteria or cell cultures rather than animal models.
The basal ganglia, a group of interconnected brain areas located deep in the cerebral cortex, have proved to be at work in learning, the formation of good and bad habits, and some psychiatric and addictive disorders.
Igor Dawid and Thomas Sargent explain how they developed subtractive mRNA hybrization to find genes expressed by different cell types. Pat Brown and Steve Fodor show how genomes can be screened with DNA arrays and GeneChips™
Brain scans of close relatives of children with autism reveal clear abnormalities that parallel those seen in autism.