Clipped From Ukiah Daily Journal

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 - TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25,1962 •Playing 6cid with...
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25,1962 •Playing 6cid with DN A' Scientific Breakthrough Imminent In "Code of Life' Discoveries BDITOR'S NOT^: In Inlmra- toriCB around tho wbrld, biological BclcntlBts are, neartng a tlironhhol,\ oven njorc momon- toiiN than tho one. crotmed by physical science when It oxponcd tho MCcrotH or non -.livlng mattor, and thnn prmhiccd thn Il-bomb. Biological Hclenco Is making Hietuly HtrUlcH toward ex|»oHlng tho Hccret of . living matter— of life iteelf. The followlnK dispatch Mims up the proR -ress of this exciting quest. and of Its promlHO to aldi 'among other things, In the search for a cure for cancer. By JOSEPH L.. MYLER United Press 'International Sdcntisls may ' Ve about to break the four-letter "code of 11(0." If Ihoy do, they will be oible eventually to rea^ nature's voluminous instrucTions governing heredity and tbe. iprooessed by wliich li\'ing thingg, plant or animal, grow and lAinction. They also will have moved men wlicn, as one biochemist wryly put it, he can think of "playing God wHh DNA." DNA is deoxyribonucleic acid, the chemical stuff of genes, the "Ixss molecule" . which organizes and rules the raw materials of life. DNA is a big molecule, containing many thousands of atoms arrayed in a variety of uniits. It has been likened to a spiral staircase, the steps of- which are made up of four compounds called nucleotides. • . . These compounds are the four letters of the atomic • "alphabet of life.' The way they are arranged determines the role of each ir*di- vidual gene. That Genes .were made of DNA was discovered aJbout 10 yeai-s ago. Since then the explosively developing science of molecular biology hiis . provided some understanding of. how this four- letter genetic code can carry the vast amount of •jnforma.tiQn involved in the i-eiproduction and evolution of millions of species. Correct (Jenetic Mistakes Suppose man should find out how to manufacture DNA in his laboratories end make it carry life blueprints (J ^t ^PS awn devds-, ing. . • Ho mjgbt > Ibf. *4bljf to correct genetic ipj^^^aS^JfTgjai^^ thus improve In^ ^presfelit wellbe- ing. He might :6<jtat»le to control his futui'e evoititioh. He might even be able to "play god" in eame.st and manufacture brand new forms of IMe. The English 'alphabet (has 26 letters, the Mt'vVaiian 12. The code has three. letters — a dot, a dash, and a space'.,,But it is pos- .sible to translate'^ \vi1hout difficulty among all three.; So four letters -are ample foi" nature. The hiim'ari being has about 10 trillion' cells, each of which has something like two million genes. .vThat represents enough anfi :)mi^on - carrying capacity to write everything that over was wrilt(5n, iii human lan- guiiges. • DNA can r<Jptyx{uce itself. So having written • *i-miillion encyclopedias, so to speak, it can turn Ikmly iaiig Journal B. A. COBER>.-> . . President and PtibQKher B. F. GERBElC-.t.Vlc« PresWenl OEO. HUNTER >^Ianaglng Ed. Published dally;, eijcc^pt Saturday, Himday and c^r(»i}i- lioUdays by tho Uklah Dall^ > JoOrnal, Inc. at m East Standl«iy:street, Uklah, Mendocino Gounty,^ <>lUornla. Entered as Sec()na.aas8 Matter April 23, 1929.^ at Otitis Post Office at Ukiah, CalifoVrta, under the Act of March 3, 1879. , Court Decree No. 9267 Telephone HO 2-2991: *| Sulwcrlptloc Rates by Mall $12 por.J'ear $8 per e Months Subscription Bates by Carrier II.IS i>or Month . Iftn per Copj around and re-wrtte them, endlessly. DNA in mated germ, or reproductive cells, determines what the offspring shall be — plant or animal, man or mouse, ibacterlum or whale. It also detenmines every last charaotcristi« front the color of petalls or eyes to form and functioning of organs. Cells Efficient Factories All living things consist of cells, which are tiny and amazingly efficient chemical factories. • DNA governs the ceM's manufacture of proteins, the ibasic building blocks and catalysts of organisms. It does It with the help of other nucleic aoids. forms of ribonucleic acid (RNA) <*ieihitoaUy similar but crucially different from DNA. The RNA's act as straw boss an^ hofi carrier. But all the Information which says a ccH shall building lung tissue or grovv hair or m:ke le«ves is carried olginaMy in the DNA molecules. Only iDNA among the giant molecules can reproduce itself. So tW* nuoleic acid may well be. as one scientist described it, "The most fan- I)orlant substance on earth." Some scientists toeHeve nucleic acid was the first self-replicating chemical to emerge on earth from the effect of radiation on the inert gases in the primitive atmosphere which existed billions of years ago. If life exists on other planets, many scientists believe it will be based, as dt is on eaj"tli, upon the nucleic aoids. informaticai from generation to generation. The DNA passed ftxjm Adam and Eve to Cain and Able stUl functions in the race of man, so to speak. . Synthesize Nucleic Acid In the past year scientists have learned how to synthesize nucleic acid although they oanrwt yet form specific functions. They think they have ascertained, arrangements of DNA letters whi<ih are responsible for one of two functions within the living cell. M they have, they have partiaiUy broken the code already. But not till they have learned what gene carries what information for what cellular manufacturing job. tiiroughout the seemingly .endless list of jobs, can ihey claim to have deciphered the code in its entirety. |>Ssg [|»3(P^JIn**«-^l«^ this-lhat wondenfiil as it is, DNA is not perfect and it is not imperishable. You can damage it, with radiation or certain chemicals, and cause it to make mistakes in reproduction. If the mistakes are serious enough, and the host organism dies before passing on its supply of genes, the amount of DNA kivolved is Jost forever to its species. The genes and their DNA code have been compared to the maig- netic tapes on which human beings imprint information to be used by their electronicaMy controlled machines. If the tape is correctly imprinted, if the equations are right, if the information is valid, the electronic brain does its bit, and the machine perfoi-ms perfectly. But it may be recalled that the $18.5 million Mariner Venus probe launched at Cape Canaveral last July 22 failed and was destocyed after 292 seconds of ifllght be- cau.so its code was botched. Somebody left out a hyplien. Cites Example Iif the DNA "language" of a people or a species is changed so that it makes just one mistake in building instructions for just one protein, all generations thereafter niaiy sitffer. Take sdckle ceU anemia, a curse of many peoples in Africa. It occurs ibecause just one amino acid, one of the 20 building blocks of proteins, is replaced toy another in the manufacture of homoglolbin the Wood. There are many suoh genetic defects. If Acience covHd road ttie language of DNA, It niJght be able to roM'fy sttch errors. TWs. and the v. ay It would be done., is something tor the long future to determine. It would Involve tinkering with man'* genetic makeup. But molecular biolo^sts are convinced it will some day be possible. It may be possible sooner to aittack some fonns <rf cancer and other diseases. Tlw insWe* of viruses consist of DNA -Mid IRiNA. They cannot reproduce themselves naturally without fhe help of a; host ceU of a plant or animal. Some cancers, at Jeait in mice, are caused by viruses. Knowing the code of virus nucleic would show the way to prevent or treat such virus-caused cancers. Jn any event, what science knows about DNA already has provided mediolne with ^ powerful dia«;nostic tool. Many genetic maOadies have been identified as such. This Is at least a st«p toward being «^le to treat, or at least prevent, genetic defects such as mongolism and a host of diseases attributed to faidts of metabolism caused by errors in the DNA blueprint of reproduction. Hardly any biochemist discusses DNA without eventually remarking that "ithe implications are fantastic" or "the possitoiili- ties stagger the imagination." If genetic defects are stlsceptible to control, perhaps it wiM become feasible to manipulate man's genes in such a way as to make him a superman. Dr. Gairdner B. Moment of Goucher College in OBaltimore said that when enough is totown about DNA and the proteins "it will be possible to produce at will imdi^med-of forms of Jivii^ thli^." This «»ay sound fantastic. But so, says Moment, did nuclear energy "30 years ago." English Short On Words but Long on Action CHELMSFORiD, England (UPI) motorist, dgar on mouth, honked his horn at the mailman whose bicycle blocked his way at the stopbiglvt. rrhe maflman, outweighed Ixitnot Intimidated, stared ibaok. Then the fun ibegan before a fascinated noontime crowd here MJonday, First the motorist edged his car forward and nudged (tie mailman from his bike. The cyde fell over. The mailman turned around and kicked in both headlights on the car. The driver stalked from the car, walked over to 13ie bicycle lying on the road, and jumped up and down on its wheels, basihing in all the spoires. Then he returned to his oar. The maillman, who had waitched aU this impassively, kicked in the car's foglight—a cruel blow in iEngland. The driver got out again, raised the bike lAgh above his head and dashed it to the ground. The mailman leaned over, took a tire pump from his bike and thrust it through the car's windshield. The motorist surromlei'cd. With his cigar belching smoke, he got baick into has car and drove off. But the mailman wasn't finished. As the car went by, he kkdced a dent 'into Hie door. Then he picked up his disabled bike and walked oM. No one knew who the two men %vere. And neither of them said a word throughout Ihe whole afteir. The fragrance of pine foliage is derived from essential oils emanating from small breathing pores in the needles.

Clipped from
  1. Ukiah Daily Journal,
  2. 25 Sep 1962, Tue,
  3. Page 3

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