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Published April 1991 | public
Journal Article

Fifty years ago: the Neurospora revolution


This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of one of the pivotal works of modern biology, the first Neurospora paper of BEADLE and TATUM(1941). This brief paper, revolutionary in both its methods and its findings, changed the genetic landscape for all time. Where previously there existed only scattered observations (albeit with some acute insights) on the relation between genetics and biochemistry, this paper established biochemical genetics as an experimental science, one in which progress would no longer be limited by the rarity of mutants with biochemically knowable phenotypes, but where such mutants would be generated at will and where findings could be repeated and hypotheses explored, as in other experimental sciences. This paper was the first in a series of fundamental advances in chemical genetics that by 1953 had bridged the gap between genetics and biochemistry and ushered in the age of molecular biology.

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© 1991 by the Genetics Society of America.

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August 19, 2023
October 20, 2023