DNA Technology Science

In the same year that Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur science fiction film “Jurassic Park” was unveiled, the science technology introduced in the film became a topic for receiving the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. The main character was Carrie Mulris, of the United States, who developed the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique.

In the film, scientists resurrected the extinct dinosaurs by amplifying the DNA extracted from the mosquito fossils that ate the blood of the dinosaurs. PCR is the technique of amplifying each part of dinosaur DNA.

PCR is a biotechnology that can amplify the desired amount of DNA by tens to hundreds of thousands of times, at least the amount of DNA. It is also one of the best biomedical technologies of the late 20th century because it has a short amplification time of 2 hours and can be easily used with simple equipment.

Thanks to this technology, genetic recombination techniques that artificially cut and attach DNA could be put to practical use, and the Human Genome Project, which decrypted the entire human genome, was possible. In addition, PCR is used in various fields such as criminal investigation to identify criminals and paternity discrimination.

Cary Mullis, who developed PCR, was born in 1944 in North Carolina, USA. He grew up enjoying life on the farm of his grandfather until the age of five. He majored in chemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology and then went on to study at UC Berkeley to earn his Ph.D.

But until that time, Mullis had little interest in the DNA field. Rather, his subject was astrophysics. His first article, published in Nature in 1968, also covered the hypothesis of astrophysics.

PCR development with inverse idea idea

He started studying human biology from the time he went to Kansas Medical School after he finished his doctorate. After returning to Berkeley, UCSF was involved in research on the brain of rats. He decided to study DNA and joined the researcher in 1979 as a biotech company.

He was immersed in DNA-related research in earnest and developed PCR in a reverse-biochemical way. Previously, you had to use a method to select the DNA of a specific gene you wanted to study the gene. But with this method, it was impossible to study genes properly.

The human genome is composed of about 3 billion pairs of DNA, but the DNA of the specific gene you want is hard to find. Mullis, on the other hand, is not a way to isolate a specific DNA from a genome, but contrary to that, it contemplates a counter-imaginary method of amplifying only a specific DNA fragment in the entire genome.

After four years in the company, he invented the theory of PCR and completed a two-year-old PCR article. But his paper was rejected by Science and other well-known scientific journals. At the end of the twists and turns, in 1987, he was able to publish his thesis, which was then followed by Science.

In fact, there was one disadvantage in the way Mullis originally devised. In order to synthesize DNA by PCR, the temperature should be raised up to 94 ° C, and most of the proteins will change their properties at the same temperature and lose their inherent functions. Therefore, we had to add a new polymerase every time we went through one step.

This problem could be solved by the Taq polymerase discovered by Japanese microbiologist Saiki. Saiki has isolated a Taq polymerase that works well at high temperatures in proteins from Thermus aquaticus, a thermophilic bacterium that survives even in hot spas.

A geeky scientist who synthesized hallucinogens in the lab

Since then, numerous labs have started using PCR, and Carrie Mullis has won the 1993 Nobel Prize for Chemistry in collaboration with Michael Smith, who developed DNA mutagenesis in recognition of this achievement. PCR was recorded as the first case to receive the Nobel Prize in chemistry for technical accomplishments, not scientific theoretical work.

However, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize, Mullis was unemployed. Shortly after the development of the PCR technique, he moved to another company and then resigned and became a freelance consultant with several nucleic acid companies. He also did business selling jewels containing amplified DNA from celebrities who died like Elvis Presley.

In order to understand Mulris’ s actions like this, he must know his temperament and his heresy. He publicly stated that he was developing a PCR, “to attract the attention of his third wife who met and got married in the cites.” He then divorced his wife and welcomed his fourth wife.

When I was in UC Berkeley, Mullis was an Ethan who only had trouble. As a psychedelic LSD recipient, he also synthesized LSD in the lab and said he was able to get the idea of ​​developing a PCR because of his hallucination.

Mullis, who won the Nobel Prize for only one or two papers, is also known as a scientist who has not published a single paper since the Nobel Prize. In addition, he has the skill to surprise people by surfing naked and developing unsubstantiated claims against scientists.

For example, HIV is not a major cause of AIDS, or carbon dioxide is not a major contributor to global warming. If global warming is progressing because of carbon dioxide, it is his position that the glaciers must have melted because of the torches that humans have consumed in primitive times.

Nowadays, he is occasionally appearing in the media is not a new study, but only when his wonderful acts and claims are passed on. Perhaps the prestige that made the PCR technique might have been the social atmosphere that embraced this heterogeneous temperament and even that.