The discovery of the lac operon, François Jacob

Interviewee: François Jacob. François Jacob talks about how enzyme production was viewed at the time they were beginning their experiments. (DNAi Location: Code > Controlling the code > Players > François Jacob and Jacques Monod > Induction vs. adaptation)

You have to recall that until the war there was no question of genes in bacteria. Genes in bacteria came off two series of work, one was the analysis of bacterial mutations by Luria and Delbruck, and the other was a combination by Lederberg and Tatum, and this was '46, '47. So the, it was called, at that time, it was not called induction, it was called adaptation, it was that bacteria put from glucose to galactose, took a while and then make the enzyme and they became adapted to eat lactose. And then adaptation became a very bad word, because it was, it, it showed very different things, so they, they stopped to call it adaptation and call enzyme induction, which is production of enzyme, and it took a number of experiments to, to put the gene into the picture.

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