The World of Molecular Biology


Manuel F. Varela, PhD –  Professor, Biology, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico, USA
Ann F. Varela – Instructor, Mathematical Sciences, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico, USA
Michael F. Shaughnessy, PhD – Professor of Psychology, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico, USA

Series: Life Sciences Research and Development

BISAC: SCI049000

The World of Molecular Biology is a book which examines and explores the discoveries as well as the lives of twenty-five stellar scientists who have all contributed in different ways to the field that we know today as “molecular biology.” The book covers a vast timeline from the last century to present day advances and concerns such as viral replication and transmission. The book examines the foundational structures of the field as well as how many scientists and basic scientific knowledge have contributed to our current understanding.

Beginning with DNA (as hereditary material) and evolving into recombinant DNA and replication and somatic DNA, the book covers the way in which scientists have examined and explored these realms and some of the resultant discoveries which have led to the Nobel Prize.

Nobel prize winners are not born, but they are made from years of education, years of familial nurturance, years of mentoring by other scientists (either formally or informally) and of course by luck, chance, fate and surreptitious encounters. Some of our scientists have spent years studying the fruit fly (drosophila), fly genetics, mutations, replications, and of course, genes, gene replication, split genes and “jumping genes.” For those seeking an overview of the field of molecular biology this text will provide an overview of the lives of those who have delved most deeply into these issues and those whose discoveries have resulted in the Nobel Prize.

The text is certainly relevant in today’s world as we encounter and challenge the dreaded ever-evolving virus known as Covid-19 which seems intent on replicating, changing, evolving and challenging mankind and our scientific community.

Table of Contents




Timeline of Molecular Biologists

Chapter 1. Oswald Theodore Avery: Discussing Molecular Biology and Biologists—Who Were They and What Did They Discover? Oswald Theodore Avery!

Chapter 2. George Beadle: From Wahoo, Nebraska to the Nobel Prize—George Beadle, His Work and Many Contributions to Molecular Biology

Chapter 3. Seymour Benzer: What happens to people who read atomic physics in the synagogue?

Chapter 4. Paul Berg and Recombinant DNA

Chapter 5. Sydney Brenner: From South Africa to Cambridge to the Nobel Prize

Chapter 6 Herbert Boyer: Who was he, and what did he have to do with Molecular Biology?

Chapter 7. Stanley Norman Cohen and His Contributions to Molecular Biology

Chapter 8. Erwin Chargaff: Precursor to Watson and Crick?

Chapter 9. Max Delbruck: Pioneer of Molecular Biology

Chapter 10. Joshua Lederberg: Bacteria Can Mate? Who Would Have Thought?

Chapter 11. Susan Lindquist and Prions, Yeast, and Heat Shock Proteins

Chapter 12. Salvador Luria and Viral Replication—Understanding it, Preventing it?

Chapter 13. Barbara McClintock and Jumping Genes

Chapter 14. Matthew Meselson: Born in Denver Colorado—Impacted the World

Chapter 15. Thomas Hunt Morgan: The Fly Room and Thomas Hunt Morgan – Who was he, and what did he investigate?

Chapter 16. Hermann Joseph Muller: The Realm of Genetic Mutations

Chapter 17. Marshall Nirenberg: The Mystery of the Genetic Code Puzzle!

Chapter 18. Reiji Okazaki: DNA Replication

Chapter 19. Mark Ptashne:  What is Genetic Switching and Phage Lambda Concerns?

Chapter 20. Richard J. Roberts: From Derby England to Split Genes and the Nobel Prize

Chapter 21. Hamilton O. Smith: An American Microbiologist, Restriction Endonucleases, and the Nobel Prize

Chapter 22. Alfred H. Sturdevant and the First Gene Map of the Fruit Fly

Chapter 23. Edward Tatum: Metabolism – Controlling Genes, Mold Mutants, and the Nobel Prize

Chapter 24. Susumu Tonegawa: Somatic Cells, DNA Recombination, and Antibody Diversity

Chapter 25. Craig Venter and the Human Genome Project


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