Cutting DNA with restriction enzymes, James Watson
Interviewee: James Watson. James Watson discusses the breakthrough that allowed scientists to cut DNA. (DNAi Location: Manipulation > Revolution > Players > James Watson > The big breakthrough)
Big breakthrough was finding ways to cut DNA molecules at specific spots, not randomly sheared, we'd always studied DNA which had been broken randomly, you had to break it at specific points, that was the real problem, how to cut at defined spots along the DNA molecule. And we thought all molecules which cut DNA, the degradative enzymes, cut randomly. So we didn't know how to proceed. And then suddenly, or over a couple of years, it began to appear there was a class of enzymes that cut DNA molecules at quite specific points.
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James Watson talks about what was needed to read the genetic message.
Restriction enzymes can bind to and cut DNA at specific sites.
Paul Berg speaks about his student Janet Mertz's experiment to make the first recombinant DNA molecule.
DNA with "sticky ends" can be rejoined and ligated together.
Paul Berg discusses the usefulness of recombinant DNA to isolate and study genes.
Genetic engineering: inserting new DNA into a plasmid vector.
A representation of a restriction enzyme cutting DNA.
Paul Berg talks about cohesive (sticky) ends and their significance in genetic engineering.
James Watson recollects his feelings about the Asilomar meeting.