Molecular Biology: Analyzing an Antibody

Surely but slowly, scientists are learning the structure of the basic molecules of life. They are gradually discovering how those molecules perform their exquisitely delicate and extraordinarily precise functions in all animals, from the amoeba to man. Despite their submicroscopic size, biologically active molecules are huge and complex—in atomic terms. Each one contains hundreds of thousands of atoms, arranged in submolecular groups—"building blocks" that are in turn arranged in definite numbers and patterns. Finding out how the building blocks are assembled in the major molecules has proved to be a challenging and time-consuming task.

Last week Dr. Gerald Edelman and his...

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