Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Preface/Front Matter

Norton D. Zinder


In the late fifties, Tim Loeb, a new graduate student at The Rockefeller University, came into my laboratory and asked whether I thought it was possible that there were male-specific bacteriophages for E. coli. At that time I had just succeeded in transferring the E. coli F factor into Salmonella and noted that these Salmonella F+ had become resistant to a Salmonella phage, SP5. I therefore quickly responded in the affirmative and off he went to a raw sewage plant in New York City. Using a set of otherwise isogenic male and female strains of E. coli, K-12, the “F” series of phages were quickly isolated. F1, the first isolate, which later was shown to be a filamentous DNA-containing phage, was set aside because it made relatively poor plaques, and f2, the second isolate, was chosen for further study. Little did we think at the time that a whole new area of study was in the offing; that from this phage and its relatives one would obtain insights into the details of the mating organelle in E. coli, the elements involved in protein biosynthesis and verification of the fidelity of in vitro protein synthesis, the nature of initiation and termination signals on messenger RNA, the first nucleic acid to be replicated faithfully in vitro, a tool for testing the fidelity of nucleotide sequencing eventually leading to the first gene to be completely sequenced, and much more.

I have often been asked whether we had considered the possibility that the phage

Full Text: