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October 9, 1967

Surgery's Relevance to an Understanding of Basic Biology: Tissue Repair and Cellular Regeneration

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery. University of California School of Medicine. San Francisco.

JAMA. 1967;202(2):116-117. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130150084015

When J. D. Watson received the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1962, a prize which he shared with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, he demonstrated in his lecture at Stockholm that the synthesis of protein1 required the ordered interaction of deoxyribonucleic acid and at least three types of functional ribonucleic acid. In the introduction he tells of the anxieties and concerns which he and Crick felt when they were first trying to elucidate the structure of DNA. He wrote,

During the next eighteen months, until the structure became elucidated, we frequently discussed the necessity that the correct structure have a capacity for replication and, in pessimistic moods we often worried that the structure might be dull, that it would suggest absolutely nothing and excite us no more than something inert, like collagen.

Watson's view of collagen is illustrative of the powerful vision of a great mind finding a new