- Taschenbuch: 220 Seiten
- Verlag: de Gruyter; Auflage: 1 (17. September 1996)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 3110148307
- ISBN-13: 978-3110148305
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,5 x 1,3 x 23 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 732.804 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The lac Operon: A Short History of a Genetic Paradigm (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 17. September 1996
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This book describes the history and present knowledge of a paradigmatic system, the lac operon of E. coli. The first part of the book presents the history of the operon and various schools of thought regarding genetic control in general. The second part presents a number of false interpretations and misconceptions and demonstrates how easily a scientist may deceive himself. The third and last part thoroughly covers the current state of knowledge of the lac operon including the importance of the auxiliary operators and discussions of several X-ray structures, one of which was published shortly before this book went into press. A unique combination of personal anecdotes and present-day science makes this book appealing to students, postdocs, active and retired researchers alike.
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The second part is called "Misinterpretation", and consists of a long series of snippets describing the mistakes people made, why they made them, and how the truth emerged. The author does not exempt himself from such analysis: "It is so easy to make a mistake. A certain sloppiness is inherent in all experiments. Often the effect one is looking for is minute...". The paragraph ends with an admission that the results he thought he had found were wrong: "This was embarrassing, but it was true."
The book begins and ends (with mentions from time to time in between) by lamenting the lack of interest young scientists have in the history of their subject: how did we reach where we are now? What were the crucial experiments? Why is Max Delbrück famous? This was asked to a doctoral candidate in the Max Delbrück Laboratory, who had no idea. I recently made a test of my own asking two or three doctoral candidates in France if they knew who Jacques Monod was: again, they had no idea. History is important, however, because if we have no understanding of why mistakes were made, or how things were clarified, we are not well armed against making similar mistakes in the future.
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