Pirates of the Sacred Spiral, Part 7

DNA Pirates CoverBeware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.    Matthew 7:15

You read at the end of Part 6 how powerful people began gathering the strings of power, braiding them together into a strong rope that would guide research and set agendas right through to the present day. With a flow of money assured between their individual fortunes, the creation of so-called philanthropic organizations, and the formation of The Federal Reserve, research continued to charge ahead.

Let’s re-enter the timeline to see what continued to develop.

1914 – Calvin Bridges published his ground-breaking paper on sex-linked traits & located specific gene on specific chromosome.  The door to DNA was creaking open wider.

1915 – Thomas Hunt Morgan published  The Mechanism of Mendellian Heredity.  This was the culmination of 15 years’ of work, studying the mechanism of inheritance with Drosophila fruit flies.

1916 – Clarence C Little was another bright star at Carnegie.  This is the year he demonstrated the genetic component of cancer.  He later became the Director of the American Cancer Society.


Getting Rich

On a personal note, I wrote, produced, directed, and performed in a local benefit show for the American Cancer Society in Toledo, OH. It was titled “I’ll Play for You,” in memory of my grandmother who died of pancreatic cancer.  Think of it; I did that in 1977.  My benefit was almost 40 years ago.  Effective cancer research had already been started 100 years ago in 1916.    Still no cure?  I’ve begun wondering in recent years just how rich the researches are getting?  One.  Hundred.  Years.


1918 – Reginald Harris arrives at Cold Spring Harbor as a summer researcher.  That’s all this year, but from small instances grow large events!

1920 – In this decade, The Woods Hole Institute approached the Carnegie Institute for financial support.

After some consideration, Prof Charles Davenport made a counter offer to establish a field station at Cold Spring Harbor to begin experiments regarding the origin of species. This is when he was named the 1st director of the Carnegie Institute for Experimental Evolution.

1921 – The Carnegie Institute is renamed as Department of Genetics, marking the complete transition from experimental evolution to modern genetics.  George Shull, who conducted the corn breeding experiments in 1908, is hired into the Department of Genetics by Davenport and is immediately named its director.

1922 – George Shull, the new arrival in 1918, marries Davenport’s daughter, Jane.

Lab-Mouse1923 – Clarence C. Little, who found the genetic link to cancer seven years earlier, leaves Cold Spring Harbor.  He later founded Jackson Laboratories, which later became the nation’s primary supplier of purebred mice for research.

1924 – Davenport’s now son-in-law is named the first full time director of the Biological Laboratory.

So far, a little money here, a little nepotism there, a little manipulation of congress on the Federal Reserve Act, but things will start heating up as we move on along the timeline. The wolves among the sheep will start to bare their fangs.  People start dying.

NEXT: The timeline continues.

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