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Letter from Linus Pauling to Dan Campbell. April 6, 1959.
Pauling summarizes the argument presented to him by Campbell on the proposed experimental work concerning the manufacture of enzymes in both the embryo and the adult. Pauling believes the idea to be worth researching and expresses his excitement at the prospect of working with Campbell on the project.


6 April 1959

To: Dan Campbell

From: Linus Pauling

Subject: Experimental work proposed by Professor Campbell

I have been thinking about the work that you suggested in your talk with me today. It seems to me that your idea is an extremely good one, and that it would be well worth while to carry out an experimental investigation. Possibly the experiments could be devised in such a way that some were carried out by the Ford Foundation group, and others carried out by you, in your laboratory.

Let me summarize the argument, as you presented it to me. You said that it might well be that an embryo manufactures proteins that are different from those manufactured by the adult of the same species, and that in case that some protein from the mother passed the placental membrane, it could affect the developing embryo in such a way as to cause an abnormality in the growth of some organ. You also pointed out that it might not be necessary to assume that the embryo manufactures different proteins from the adult organism. Development of an organ in the embryo might depend upon having the various proteins that are being manufactured by the growing embryo present in certain relative concentrations, such that if the relative concentrations were seriously disturbed there would be an abnormality in development. The increase in concentration of one protein that might result from passage of that protein through the barrier separating the embryo from the mother might then lead to abnormalities in development.

You suggested that it would be worth while to see whether brain protein, for example, injected into the developing embryo would cause an abnormality in development of the brain.

If I remember correctly, you said that Ebert had shown that the injection of proteins of an adult frog into the developing frog embryo caused abnormalities in development of the embryo. I do not know how specific the abnormalities were - that is, whether the organ affected was the one from which the adult protein had been obtained.

I believe that you said that the frog experiment is the only one of this sort that had been carried out.

I look forward to talking with you more about this possible field of research.

Linus Pauling:jh

cc: Dr. Lippman, Dr. Perry

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