Science: The Gene Makers

Scientists may never be able to emulate Faust's student, Wagner, and create a homunculus, or artificial man. But they seem to be moving steadily closer to the day when they will be able to reproduce the DNA molecule essential to life. Harvard University Biochemists Argiris Efstratiades, Fotis Kafatos, Thomas Maniatis and Allen Maxam report that they have copied a mammalian gene, a unit of the DNA molecule that transmits a specific inherited trait. Their creation: the gene that orders the production of hemoglobin—a blood component—in rabbits.

Five years before the triumph of the Harvard group, Organic Chemist Har Gobind Khorana, a Nobel...

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