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Preface/Front Matter

Jon Beckwith, David Zipser


Much of the development of molecular biology has depended on the study of certain key biological systems. The lactose operon of E. coli is clearly one of these systems. In the late summer of 1968, Jim Watson suggested to us that it would be useful to have a conference devoted entirely to work on the lac operon. It also seemed reasonable to publish the results presented at this meeting together with an extensive review of past work that would be of value and interest to a wide range of biologists and students not now familiar with the lac system. Thus evolved the format for this volume. The first ten chapters bring the general reader up to date, familiarizing him with the history, techniques, language and results of lac operon studies. Following these chapters, a series of current papers presented at the conference in September 1969 at Cold Spring Harbor give new developments in molecular biology obtained with the lac system.

It is hoped that this format will make it possible for the general biological reader and student to obtain easily sufficient background information about the lactose operon, as well as an understanding of the significance of new results first presented in this volume.

Jon Beckwith

David Zipser

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