27 August 1963
Professor G. Pontecorvo, F. R. S.
Department of Genetics
Dear Professor Pontecorvo:
I have been interested to read your Leeuwenhoek Lecture, and I congratulate you on it.
There is one point that I might comment on. You state "on the other hand, I am unable to recollect, in classical genetics, any suggestion that the gene template itself should be a duplex complementary structure, replicating by double-complement formation..."
This idea occurred to me in 1959, when I was developing my theory of the structure of antibodies (Journal of the American Chemical Society 62, 2643 (1940). I also mentioned it in many lectures in Pasadena and elsewhere, including Cambridge in 1948, and in several papers. One early mention of this idea is in the paper that I published with Delbrück in Science, 92, 77 (1940). Another published reference is the 21st Sir Jesse Boot Foundation Lecture, delivered 28 May 1948 and published shortly thereafter. (This lecture was at the University of Nottingham.)
An excerpt from the Sir Jesse Boot Foundation Lecture is given on the enclosed sheet.
Perhaps you are differentiating between classical genetics and molecular genetics - I think that my work, of course, was in the field of molecular genetics.
I enclose a reprint or two - most of my reprints are exhausted.
Dictated by Linus Pauling
Signed in his absence:hpg
P.S. I notice that my article in Endeavor, 7 April 1948, ends with a few sentences describing duplication of the gene by means of a molecule complementary in structure to the gene.