Narrator: A person afflicted with the disease has inherited two sickle cell genes from his
parents. This realization, that the two genes manufacture the abnormal hemoglobin,
set the stage for Dr. Pauling’s entry into the field of molecular medicine.
Linus Pauling: Well, when Doctors Itano, Singer, and Wells, and I published our paper in 1949, we
gave it the title: “Sickle Cell Anemia: A Molecular Disease.” Now of course, in fact,
one might say that any inborn error of metabolism, any hereditary disease, is a molecular
disease because it involves an abnormal gene. And the gene we know, almost certainly,
is a molecule of DNA, deoxyribose nucleic acid. The abnormal molecule of deoxyribose
nucleic acid that is inherited by the child, prospective patient, causes the trouble
for him, and the hereditary disease is accordingly a molecular disease.