Writing inside the autobiography, the Nobel laureate Franзois Jacob described the way the procedure for science was actually quite distinctive from what was eventually written and published into the peer-reviewed literature. 1 He related how Sydney Brenner to his research and Matthew Meselsen initially had setbacks if they tried to identify a hypothesized intermediary molecule that took information from genes and allowed protein to be synthesized inside cells. He and his colleagues attempted, without luck, to demonstrate that the factor, which we know as mRNA, attached itself to ribosomes, the cell’s protein-manufacturing machinery today. So 1 day, discouraged, Jacob said, he and Brenner took a rest and went along to a Pacific Ocean beach, where Brenner at some point exclaimed that magnesium was important for binding.
Once the two returned to the laboratory, they added enough magnesium to their experiments and then showed the factor related to ribosomes. The mRNA would not attach to ribosomes without sufficient magnesium. The scientists had provided evidence for the presence of mRNA, which we now know transcribes information from DNA into a language that ribosomes can understand. However the paper reporting the outcome, which appeared in Nature in 1961, was not a narrative that is historical of happened. The scientific paper explained mRNA’s binding to ribosomes as a function associated with the concentration of magnesium, without mention of the eureka moment during the beach.
Jacob compared the limitations of a publication that is scientific capture the “truth” associated with scientific process to a snapshot of a horse race. Read More