Relating a gene to a sequence of amino acids, Sydney Brenner
Interviewee: Sydney Brenner. Sydney Brenner talks about the gene, and Seymour Benzer's contributions in matching the gene to protein sequence. (DNAi Location: Code > Reading the code > Players > Sydney Brenner > Defining the gene)
I think if you'd been in science and you wondered how on earth, you know, are we ever going to get to the bottom of this, what is the guiding concept, I think the most important thing there was that immediately you could say, boy if we could find out how the sequence of bases corresponds to the sequence of amino acids, because now we could define the gene not just as a blob, not just as a bead on a string, but we could define the gene now as a length of DNA. And that's also very important to recognize what Seymour Benzer showed roughly at the same time, perhaps a year later, was that he changed the idea of mutation being just something, you know, that deformed the blob if we could say, into something that was a precise change at a certain position. In other words, he, if you like it, he was able to show that the scale over which mutation took place was at the molecular scale of the structure of the DNA.
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Sydney Brenner showed that mRNA was the unstable intermediate that carried the message from DNA to the ribosomes.
In this first of a two-part clip, Sydney Brenner describes the information transfer problem from DNA to the protein-making machinery.
Seymour Benzer was able to map mutations within one phage gene and correlate the mutations with protein changes. This showed that the DNA sequence of a gene was aligned with protein sequence.
Sydney Brenner talks about James Watson's work on RNA.
Sydney Brenner talks about the idea of applying a code to DNA sequence.
Frederick Sanger talks about the differences between sequencing proteins and sequencing DNA.
A 1991 Caltech function. (L-R) Seymour Benzer, Rita Levi Montalcini, Ed Lewis and Sydney Brenner.
After decoding the "easy" codons, Marshall Nirenberg talks about his strategy for decoding the rest.
In this second of a two-part clip, Sydney Brenner describes the experiment they did to prove the existence and function of RNA.
Mutations are changes in genetic information.