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March 26, 1982

Restriction Enzymes, Interferon, and the Therapy for Advanced Cancer

JAMA. 1982;247(12):1742. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320370056033

A decade ago, the remarkable property of the newly discovered restriction enzymes, namely, their ability to cleave doublestranded DNA at particular base sequences, was widely regarded as a microbiological curiosity and of little practical utility. The short-sightedness of this view was rapidly demonstrated, and the importance of restriction enzymes in molecular biology research has already been acknowledged by the award of a Nobel Prize to the pioneers of restriction enzyme research.

Experiments using restriction enzymes to manipulate DNA structure have completely altered our understanding of molecular biology in recent years. It is clear from such reports as the preliminary study by Horning and her colleagues in the current issue of The Journal (p 1718) that recombinant DNA research will be changing the practice of medicine as well. Restriction enzymes are the scalpels of the future, and, as physicians, we should understand how recombinant DNA techniques are used to produce proteins