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November 25, 1968

Synthetic Nucleic Acids and the Genetic Code

Author Affiliations

From the Institute for Enzyme Research, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

JAMA. 1968;206(9):1978-1982. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150090054013

The recent dramatic progress in the field of molecular biology has been made possible by the interest and contributions of workers professing a variety of disciplines, for example, biologists, geneticists, biochemists, and physicists. The effort in my own laboratory during the past 15 years or so has aimed at the development of the organic chemistry, especially synthesis of nucleic acids and the inspiration for a great deal of our recent work has come from a number of discoveries made during the past 20 years or so in the rapidly developing field of molecular biology. Before discussing our own contribution, it is appropriate to review some of the landmarks in this field, especially in the context of the problem of the genetic code.

The inference that genes make proteins goes back to more than 50 years ago. However, what put this concept into sharp focus was the one gene-one enzyme hypothesis