By Joseph S. Fruton
During this sweeping account of the emergence of biochemistry and molecular biology from the interaction among chemistry and biology, scientist-historian Joseph S. Fruton levels from antiquity to the current time. He examines the institutional settings of the 2 disciplines and discusses their impression on scientific, pharmaceutical, and agricultural perform.
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Extra info for Proteins, Enzymes, Genes: The Interplay of Chemistry and Biology
5 The first classification denotes the individual and collective activity whose main objective is the investigation of scientific problems which are of common interest to the people who participate in that activity. The term institutional, on the other hand, relates to the forms of the social organization, support, and control of that activity in universities and in schools of medicine, pharmacy, agriculture, or technology, in scientific academies, and in private and governmental research institutes, hospitals, and industrial establishments.
A consequence has been more intense competition and, as Efraim Racker put it: "Rejoice when other scientists do not believe what you know to be true. It will give you extra time to work on it in peace. "10 Page 6 Although Feyerabend's dictum that "anything goes" in scientific speculation is too extreme, all biochemical speculations, no matter how fruitful or unproductive, or whether they gained for a time the status of "doctrines" or ''dogmas" merit consideration because they frequently reveal something about the tacit preconceptions a scientist has brought to his or her work.
The now-immense literature on the "origins of molecular biology" amply attests to the historical importance of the emergence of this discipline. The definition of its scope has changed, however, with the development of the concepts and methods in the study of the chemical structure and biological function of nucleic acids, proteins, and enzymes. The detailed features of that development will be examined in later chapters of this book, and here I only consider some possible reasons for the replacement of the word chemical (as, for example, in chemical biology) by molecular.