Avery in Retrospect

@article{Olby1972AveryIR,
  title={Avery in Retrospect},
  author={Robert C. Olby},
  journal={Nature},
  year={1972},
  volume={239},
  pages={295-296}
}
  • R. Olby
  • Published 29 September 1972
  • History
  • Nature
In this response to Vivian Wyatt's article on the cool reception by molecular biologists to Avery, MacLeod, and McCarty's 1944 article, Olby critiqued much of the evidence and many of the primary assumptions made by Wyatt. 
Avery in Retrospect
TLDR
The history of such a subject has great intrinsic interest, and often acts as a cautionary tale that should suggest that there are oversights and false assumptions at the present time.
From pneumonia to DNA: the research career of Oswald T. Avery.
  • O. Amsterdamska
  • Business
    Historical studies in the physical and biological sciences : HSPS
  • 1993
In this article, Amsterdamska uses Avery and his research on bacterial transformation as a case study to assess how different evidential contexts, institutional practices, and ideologies impact the
Oswald Avery and the Origin of Molecular Biology
  • N. Russell
  • History
    The British Journal for the History of Science
  • 1988
TLDR
Of these three histories of the early development of molecular biology, only one does justice to Avery's work, according to his surviving DNA collaborator, MacLyn McCarty, who believes that only Olby in The Path to the Double Helix deals adequately with Avery's contribution.
A Comment on Historical Analysis in Biochemistry
TLDR
Citations are clearly inadequate as a means to determine the true impact of a given scientific contribution, not only because of subjectivity in the choice of citations, but also because of simple logical steps to canonical, or generally accepted knowledge.
The chemical characterization of the gene: vicissitudes of evidential assessment.
  • J. Stegenga
  • Psychology
    History and philosophy of the life sciences
  • 2011
TLDR
It is argued that the changing context in which the evidence presented by Avery's group was interpreted partly explains the vicissitudes of the assessments of the evidence.

References

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By considering a specific example from molecular biology, Dr Wyatt examines the factors that determine the transformation of scientific information into scientific knowledge.
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Gene Recombination in Escherichia Coli
ANALYSIS of mixed cultures of nutritional mutants has revealed the presence of new types which strongly suggest the occurrence of a sexual process in the bacterium, Escherichia coli.
FURTHER OBSERVATIONS ON THE USE OF PNEUMOCOCCUS EXTRACTS IN EFFECTING TRANSFORMATION OF TYPE IN VITRO
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  • Biology
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Pneumococcus extracts highly active in inducing the in vitro transformation of the specific types of Pneumococcus have been prepared by dissolving S cells with sodium desoxycholate, precipitating the
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It is concluded that the dumbbell bodies observed in resting bacterial spores and vegetative cells from young cultures are comparable to the chromosomes of plant and animal cells.
THE TRANSFORMATION OF PNEUMOCOCCAL TYPES : II. THE INTERCONVERTIBILITY OF TYPE-SPECIFIC S PNEUMOCOCCI.
TLDR
The ro1e which the phenomenon of transformation of type may play in problems of infection and epidemiology is indicated and the causes responsible for the transformations are discussed.