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My first year of college was 1954, shortly after Watson and Crick's publication of the structure of DNA. I pursued a major in biology and chemistry with the intention of going to medical school.

Besides receiving a fine liberal arts education at St.Vincent's, one profound event occurred during my junior year while I was taking a cell physiology course. It was Geiss's new cell physiology text and lo and behold one whole chapter was devoted to the structure of DNA and its role as the bearer of all things genetics.

Each student was given the assignment of presenting one chapter of the book to the class in the form of a lecture and I chose the chapter on the structure of DNA. Having already taken genetics and evolution courses I found this exercise and the information to be extremely exciting, and I think at that time I was truly hooked. I do not recall having had any previous lectures on the role of DNA as genetic material but remember my genetics professor previously expressing an opinion that proteins were the most likely candidate for a molecular basis of heredity.

The fall of 1958, my first year of graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh, was an exciting time for the biological sciences. I soon became a passionate young bacterial geneticist which was the in thing then, and I soon could recite the standard litany.



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