PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
A Publication of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.
11 DECEMBER, 1965 NUMBER 3
The Next New Biology1
Institute of Technology
the olden days, up to two or three years ago, I gave talks with titles like
"The New Biology," and this was a good subject to talk about because, as we
all know, there has been a whole new biology—the new cell biology—appear
before our eyes during the 1950's and the early 1960's. But, biology keeps
developing; it's evidently in log phase, with a knowledge doubling time of
something like two years, and during the last two or three years I have been
giving talks with titles like "The New, New Biology." We can, however, already
foresee the end of the new, new biology. What will be left? With what will
we concern ourselves after the new, new biology has been so fully exploited
that what is left is not so interesting to find out? With what will the next
new biology be concerned? It is well to be prepared in matters of this kind
so that we can know ahead how to prepare ourselves for the challenges of the
future. Let us think about the next new biology. Just to be sure that we are
all thinking within the same general framework, I will first talk a little
bit about the old, new biology, and then go on to the new, new biology—its
content, its current frontiers, and its ultimate shape as it approaches perfection.
We will then go on to consider candidates for the next new biology.
old new biology has been concerned with the molecular facts of cell life,
with finding out what it is that makes a cell be alive. We now know that all
cells contain the directions for cell life written in the DNA of their chromosomes,
and that these directions include specification of how to make the many kinds
of protein enzyme molecules by means of which the cell converts available
building blocks into sub-stances suitable for making more cells. We know that
to make enzyme molecules the DNA prints off RNA copies of itself, messenger
RNA molecules, and that these messenger RNA molecules are decoded by ribosomes,
also made by the DNA, and that the ribosome as it decodes a messenger RNA
molecule uses the information to assemble a specific kind of enzyme molecule.
This picture of life is that given to us by molecular biology, and it is general,
it applies to all cells of all creatures. The old new biology is as simple
Address of the President of the Pacific Division, American Association for
the Advancement of Science; presented June 22, 1965 at Riverside, California.
that—the DNA makes the RNA makes the enzymes—the enzymes make
the building blocks for making more enzymes, more RNA, and all of this so
that some enzymes can be concerned with making building blocks with which
the DNA may replicate itself, so that the DNA can double, so that the cell
can divide into two, so that that kind of cell can multiply and multiply and
take over the world, as for example human cells are now doing.
lower organisms, which consist of single cells, every cell is alike. A higher
creature consists, however, of many different kinds of specialized cells.
Each of us arises from a single cell, the fertilized egg, which divides and
divides and pretty soon the individual cells begin to be different from one
another—to give rise to xylem or phloem, or muscle or nerve, to produce
the particular kinds of cells that are required to produce an adult creature.
This is development and differentiation, and it is with this subject, viewed
through the window of the new biology, that the new, new biology is concerned.
first thing that we can say about development viewed through the eyes of the
molecular biologist is that all the cells of the body of a higher organism
have exactly the same amount and kind of DNA—the same genetic information.
That this is so is evident not only from the constancy in amount of DNA per
cell in higher creatures, but also, in the case of plants, from the fact that
many different individual kinds of specialized cells can be separated from
the adult body, put into appropriate nutrient medium, and caused to regenerate
the whole organism—grow through the whole life cycle. Quite evidently
each mature specialized cell contains the entire genetic information of the
organism. Nonetheless, as we know, some cells produce hemoglobin, others do
not. Some produce muscle enzymes, some Iiver enzymes, and so on. The genetic
information for making hemoglobin, for example, is in all cells of the body,
but is used in only a few cells, those which are to be red blood cells. In
other cells of the body, the genetic information for making hemoglobin is
turned off—repressed. To find out what it is that causes development
and differentiation, then, we must find out what it is in the cell that determines
that particular units of the genetic information, particular genes, shall
be active and make their characteristic messenger RNA, and what it is that
PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
ADOLPH HECHT, Editor
Department of Botany
Washington State University
Pullman, Washington 99163
HARLAN P. BANKS Cornell University
NORMAN H. BOKE University of Oklahoma
SYDNEY S. GREENFIELD Rutgers University
WILLIAM L. STERN Vanderbilt University
ERICH STEINER University of Michigan
VOLUME 11 DECEMBER 1965
OF ADDRESS: Notify the Treasurer of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.,
Dr. Harlan P. Banks, Department of Botany, Cornell University, Ithaca, New
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that other genes shall be repressed, inactive in messenger RNA-making.
is the orderly production by a single cell, the fertilized egg, of the several
kinds of specialized cells which make up the adult creature. Specialized cells
differ from one another in the kinds of enzymes which they contain. We are
inexorably led by logic to the conclusion that the cause of development is
a properly programmed expression and utilization of the genetic information.
The genetic in-formation is contained in the genes, and these in turn are
fastened together into the chromosomes which are housed in the cell nucleus.
The new, new biology, the study of development, must therefore be occupied
with the study of chromosomes, since it is in the chromosomes that the master
plan for the architecture of the body resides. My associate, Professor Ru-chih
C. Huang, and I have started such a study. During the past five years we have
found out how to isolate chromosomes, and how to cause them to make their
messenger RNA in the test tube. We have studied the control and programming
of genetic activity on three levels, namely (1) the hardware of genetic control,
the nature of the material which represses gene activity; (2) the nature of
the genetic switching unit, the nature of the act by which genetic activity
is turned on and off, and (3) the nature of the switching network, of the
program by means of which the individual genetic switching units are linked
and integrated into a developmental system.
then, we have had to isolate chromosomes—the genetic material. This
has turned out to be ridiculously easy—we just grind up some tissue,
filter off the cell membranes, and centrifuge it in a centrifugal field which
is just insufficient to pellet the mitochondria. Only the largest and heaviest
things in the cell grindate sediment. Luckily, the heaviest and densest things
in the grindate are the chromosomes, and they pellet in a centrifugal field
of 4,000 x g. The crude chromosomes may be purified by sucrose density gradient
centrifugation to yield in high purity, and with a high recovery, the genetic
material of the original tissue. This method of isolation of chromosomes is
a general one. We have applied it first to the pea plant. We say, if pea plants
were good enough for Mendel to invent genetics with, they are good enough
for us. But the methods which we have used for pea plants have turned out
to be applicable to the tissues of cows, rats, humans, insects, and even bacteria.
isolated according to the procedures out-lined above possess a not uninteresting
property, namely, they are able to catalyze the synthesis of messenger RNA
from the four riboside triphosphates. That chromosomes possess this power
is due in the first place to the fact that they contain bound in their structure
the enzyme RNA polymerase, which catalyzes the union of the ribonucleotides
to one another, provided only that a DNA template is avail-able. The chromosome
of course provides the DNA template. We have found further that RNA synthesis
by isolated chromosomes is limited in its rate by the amount of RNA polymerase
contained in the chromosome. That this is so is shown by the fact that if
purified RNA polymerase (isolated for example from the bacterium E. cols)
is added to a chromosomal preparation in the presence of the four riboside
triphosphates, rate of RNA synthesis is enormously increased, 100, 200 or
several hundred-fold over that caused by the endogenous enzyme alone. We have,
therefore, a means at our disposal for assessing the template activity of
chromosomal RNA, for determining the amount of DNA in the chromosome which
is capable of acting as template for the production of messenger RNA by DNA-dependent
DNA of chromosomes is less effective in the support of DNA-dependent RNA synthesis
by RNA polymerase than is an equal amount of pure, deproteinized DNA. This
is because the DNA of the chromosome is present in two forms. The first form,
a minority form which makes up only some 5-20% of the chromosomal DNA,
behaves like DNA. It supports RNA synthesis by RNA polymerase and possesses
some of the physical and chemical properities of DNA. The remainder of the
chromosomal DNA, some 80-95 % or more, is not capable of supporting DNA-dependent
RNA synthesis by RNA polymerase. This is because this portion of the chromosomal
DNA is complexed with a special and unique chromosomal component, proteins
of a class known as his-tones. The histones are positively charged proteins
which bind to and specifically complex with DNA, covering the DNA surface
and making it inaccessible to RNA polymerase. We have developed methods for
the physical separation from one another of the DNA which is completely complexed
with histone, the nucleohistone component of chromosomes, from the DNA not
so-complexed with histone. By such fractionation methods it has been possible
to show that genes which are repressed in life are present in the histone-covered
portion of the chromosomes, while genes which in life are not repressed, are
present in the histone-free portion of the genetic material. Analysis of these
matters has been made
in our hands by the attention which we have focused upon a particular gene
of the pea plant. This is a gene which supports the making of messenger RNA
which in turn supports the making of the reserve protein of pea seed cotyledons.
This protein, pea seed globulin, is made only during the growth of the pea
seed, and is deposited therein. The gene is repressed, pea seed globulin is
not made, in any other part of the pea plant at any other time in the life
cycle of the pea plant. We have shown, for example, that chromosomes from
developing pea cotyledons produce messenger RNA, in the test tube, which supports
in turn the making of protein by a purified ribosomal preparation. The protein
thus synthesized contains pea seed globulin, and in approximately the same
proportion of total protein as is found in the developing pea seed itself.
Chromosomes from, for ex-ample, vegetative pea buds, also support the making
of messenger RNA which also supports the synthesis of protein by a ribosomal
protein-making system. The protein synthesized under the supervision of pea
bud chromosomes contains no detectable amount of pea seed globulin, however.
We have shown that the gene for pea seed globulin-making is present in the
histone-poor portion of the DNA of pea cotyledon chromatin. We have further
found that the gene for pea seed globulin-making may be derepressed in pea
bud chromatin by removal of the histones from the pea bud chromatin DNA.
therefore, the histones are repressors. So far as we have been able to discover,
all repressors of genetic activity in the chromosomes of higher creatures
are histones. The histones are made in the nucleus, apparently in the nucleolus,
and are deposited on the DNA at the time of DNA replication. How does a histone
molecule find the right gene to sit on, and repress? The interaction of histone
with DNA is, as remarked above, a purely ionic one. When we in the Iaboratory
wish to dissociate histone from DNA, we merely put the chromosome into a solution
of high salt concentration, in which ionic interactions are greatly diminished
in effectiveness. Neither we, nor anybody else, has been able to find any
specificity in the interaction between histone and DNA, that is, histone does
not seek out and bind with a DNA molecule according to the information content
of that DNA molecule. A histone cannot apparently read the genetic message
contained in a DNA molecule; it merely notices that DNA is a negatively charged
macromolecule. During recent months Professor Huang and I have come upon a
new finding which we believe may illuminate the question of how the repressor
molecules find the right gene upon which to sit. We have found that in the
native chromosome each histone molecule has bound to it an RNA molecule. The
histone-RNA linkage is cleaved by acid solutions, and since extraction of
histones with acid is always used by histone chemists in the preparation of
their materials, the fact that native histone contains bound RNA has thus
far escaped notice. The RNA which is bound in the chromosomal structure is
of an entirely new category, different from messenger RNA, transfer RNA, ribosomal
RNA, in base composition, in size, and no doubt in function. In the chromosome,
the histone-bound RNA is complexed to the DNA. In the world of the nucleic
acids, "It takes one to know one." Perhaps it is this RNA which discovers
the proper nucleotide sequence, the proper gene for the histone to complex
to and which to repress.
us turn now to the question of how in nature genes get turned off and on.
When we derepress genes in the laboratory by removal of histone, we do so
by disassociating DNA from histone by the use of high concentrations of salt,
as pointed out above. It works nicely, but not selectively. It derepresses
all repressed genes. In the living cell derepression is selective, one or
a few genes may be turned on or off without influencing others. We are, however,
beginning to know something about the nature of this genetic switching unit.
Just as in bacteria, so also in higher organ-isms, it has been found that
there are particular kinds of small molecules which are able to turn off or
on the activity of particular genes. In the bacterium, these are small molecules
and genes concerned with the making of enzymes for the making of everyday
metabolites, and the control serves the end of seeing to it that the bacterium
does not make some particular kind of substance if that substance is available
in the nutrient medium. In higher creatures this kind of regulation by small
molecules serves the process of development, and one important class of such
small molecules consists of the hormones. A hormone, on arrival at its target
organ, turns on individual or whole sets of genes, causing the production
of characteristic enzyme molecules, and setting a cell or cells on a new pathway
of development. This is dramatically exemplified by the case of cortisone.
Cortisone is produced in the adrenal cortex, and goes from the site of its
production to the liver, for example. In the liver the cortisone says to the
liver cell, "Please, cells of the liver, make me the following 12 enzymes."
Cortisone causes derepression of genes previously repressed, or largely repressed,
for the making of messenger RNA which supports the making of a whole array
of particular kinds of enzyme molecules. It has been shown by physiologists
who have worked upon the matter that cortisone, when it arrives in the liver,
causes the liver cells to increase their rate of RNA synthesis, this RNA in
turn supporting an increased rate of protein synthesis, the new protein consisting
then of the new kinds of enzymes which are being produced. That cortisone
acts by causing derepression of genes has been shown clearly and elegantly
by our colleague Michael Dahmus. Mr. Dahmus has given cortisone to adrenalectomized
rats and, after an appropriate period—three hours—isolated chromosomes
from the liver of such treated rats, together with chromosomes from cortisone-not-treated
rats. The chromosomes thus isolated have been incubated with excess of purified
RNA polymerase as well as the four riboside triphosphates for estimate of
the template activity for RNA synthesis of the two kinds of chromosomes. He
has shown that the template activity of liver chromosomes is increased by
approximately 30% by cortisone treatment in life. This is as one would
expect. Cortisone appears, then, to remove the repressor substances from genes
the case of cortisone, the template activity of the
is increased by 30%. Would it not be nice to find a case in which a hormone
causes a dramatic increase in template activity of chromosomes? Such a case
has been, in fact, found and studied by our colleague Dorothy Tuan. The buds
of freshly harvested potatoes do not grow. They are said to be dormant. The
chromosomes of the cells of the dormant bud are almost completely repressed,
and cannot therefore make any messenger RNA. Dormancy can be ended at any
time by supplying the bud with a particular hormone, gibberellic acid, or
by a synthetic substitute of that hormone, ethylene chlorohydrin. Treatment
with a minute amount of one of these materials causes the buds to grow, the
chemical causing a 10- to 20-fold increase in the template activity of the
chromosomes of the bud.
do not yet know in detail how a small molecule can bind to a larger repressor
molecule and change it so that it no longer represses. At least, however,
the process can now be studied in the test tube, and I have no doubt but that
detailed understanding of how a small molecule effector substance brings about
derepression will soon be available to all of us.
may imagine, then, that each gene in the cell is reposing in a repressed state
waiting for the proper effector substance to come along and turn it on. Such
effector sub-stances are certainly not only hormones, but also everyday metabolites,
dissolved gases, perhaps water, specific substances produced by neighboring
cells, and so on. We can begin to visualize how the derepression of one gene
may lead to the production of material which causes derepression of further
genes, and how this may in turn bring about long chains of genetic switching
which can in turn result, as they do in fact, in the developmental process.
us then consider the developmental process, for ex-ample the case of flowering.
The vegetative bud of a plant grows along, producing leaves and stem; genes
for making flowers and fruits are all turned off. Their activity is not required
for vegetative growth. Suddenly, however, in the case of a short-day plant
for example, the leaf sees a short day, a long night. It produces flowering
hormone. The flowering hormone goes to the bud and to the meristematic embryonic
cells of the bud; there the flowering hormone says to the repressed genes
for making flowers, "Genes for making flowers, I have seen a short day. It
is time to become derepressed and start our bud upon the pathway to flower
development." Once started upon the floral pathway, development flows on,
as it were automatically. Further turning off and on of genes must certainly
occur during the course of flower maturation, fruit development and seed production,
but this all seems to flow on as a consequence of the initial floral induction
act. The developmental process behaves as though it were a pre-programmed
routine, a pre-programmed sequence written down in the genetic DNA. How can
we hope to study in detail this sequential genetic switching which results
in programmed developmental processes? Certainly the task will be a vast one.
For the present we can, however take one non-destructive approach to the matter.
We can think about it. We have tried to approach the question by imagining
what directions would suffice to tell the cell how to divide and multiply
and ultimately turn into an adult organism with its specific specialized cells
in the appropriate and correct places. Let us take for example the apical
cell of a stem of a plant in which the bud and all stem tissues arise from
a perpetually dividing single apical cell. The apical cell divides into two.
What must happen next? Clearly the first thing that must happen is that each
of the daughter cells must have some way to find out who is apical, who must
go on and behave like an apical cell, and who must be not apical, but must
go through the appropriate later procedures and turn into bud and ultimately
differentiated stem tissue. Each cell of the initial division must test itself
for apical-ness. The cell that finds that it is not apical must then of course
find out whether it is time for it to differentiate into the specialized tissues
of the stem. How will it find out? It must apparently test itself for the
size of the cell mass in which it is embedded, the size of the bud. It tests
itself for this size and finds it is a single lone cell at the very top of
the bud, surmounted only by an apical cell. The program for stem development
presumably says that before cells can start on the pathway to differentiation
they must be in a big, fat bud. This is the way it happens in nature. Our
first product of apical cell division must therefore divide again. I would
imagine that it divides, and divides, the daughter cells testing themselves
each time for the size of the cell mass until they find that they have arrived
at the size suitable for the bottom of a mature bud. Once they have achieved
this size, and have satisfactorily passed the bud-size test, the cells of
the bud must make further inquiries. For example, each one must ask itself,
"Am I on the outside of the stem?" If the question is answered in the positive
they must get out the subroutine which tells them to turn into epidermal cells.
If they are not on the outside, they must ask themselves if they are on the
very inside. If so, they must turn into xylem, which is on the inside of plant
considerations such as the above, we have attempted to model the program by
which a single apical cell might develop into an adult plant. To make this
program rigorous we and our colleague Fred Mayer have written this program
in a form suitable for an electronic computer. This pro-gram, which we call
DOGMA, or Digital Organ Generator Model A, if followed by a single apical
cell, causes the generation of a bud, the turning of the oldest part of the
bud into mature stem tissues, and as long as the program is followed the stem
continues to grow in length, always surmounted by a bud and a continually
active apical cell. Such modeling gives us insight into the developmental
process. It tells us what components must by logical necessity be contained
in the developmental machinery of higher organisms. The most important insight
into development which the modeling of developmental programs has given us
has been the concept of the developmental test. We have seen above that in
the case of the bud we must imagine that the dividing and growing embryonic
tissue continuously tests itself for size or for number of cells, each time
comparing the value found to
value stated in the program as a desired one. The concept of the test carries
us, I believe, to the central core of the logic of differentiation. The growing
bud tests itself against the required ultimate size, the same cells test themselves
for the presence or absence of flowering hormone; a cell tests its neighbors
for strangeness or similarity. In these and a myriad of further ways must
we imagine that each cell in a developing organism keeps itself informed of
where it is in the developmental path, and what therefore is the appropriate
next step. The test as one unit in the logic of differentiation is of course
already known as an experimental fact, as in the case of the presence or absence
of a hormone in its target organ. All that we do here is to extend the concept
of the test to include other kinds of tests which although not yet experimentally
known would seem to be essential to the machinery of development. One of the
clearest examples of the developmental test at work is provided by the example
of the plant embryo. This normally develops, as all embryos do, from a single
cell, the fertilized egg, and is carried on inside an ovary full of the chemicals
needed in embryonic growth. These two conditions are all that is required
to cause a cell to develop into an embryo; the cell must be a single, and
it must be surrounded by the ovarian nutrients. Professor Stewart at Cornell
University has shown that fully differentiated cells of many types start life
anew and develop into embryos if these two conditions are fulfilled. We may
imagine that the plant cell is continuously testing itself for the presence
of neighbors. As long as it finds neighbors it says, "Aha—here I am—I've
got lots of neighbors—I'm sup-posed to lie dormant and not do anything."
If it finds suddenly that it has no neighbors it then tests itself for the
presence of the embryo nutrients. If the outcome of this test, too, is positive,
the cell must say to itself, "Well—gee whiz—it's funny, but here
I am all alone and there are the embryo nutrients out there, so I must be
a fertilized egg, and I will therefore develop into an embryo."
is, then, very real hope that biology will in fact be able to describe in
molecular detail the several aspects of the developmental process. This knowledge
will give us a corresponding control over developmental matters. We can envisage
the day when it will be possible to take a cell, any cell, and reset its program
to any desired point. It may be-come possible for us to reset the developmental
program not to the stage of the fertilized egg, but to some stage further
along in the developmental process, and thus to regenerate new organs for
example, to replace tired ones, or to generate more organs if the individual
wishes more. I have tried to think, for example, about what further organs
I would like to have, and I have decided that I would like to have four hands
since there is so much for biologists to do. Recently as I was trying to light
my pipe in the laboratory my colleague, Professor Huang, said to me, "You
have been talking about how you want to have four hands—if you're going
to smoke a pipe in the laboratory you'll need five." So, as you can see, we
are all very optimistic about the future success of the new, new biology.
is then in good shape—much remains to be done, but it all appears to
be doable. Its just a matter of hard work and time. What will biologists do
next? Luckily, the biggest problem of them all still awaits us. The human
brain is the most complex device of which we know, and we understand it very
little. We know it consists of ten billion neurons, each a sort of digital
device which is arranged to fire an electrical discharge in response to an
appropriate array of electrical inputs. We know that the brain is capable
of acquiring, processing, storing and retrieving information, and we know
that although our DNA causes the construction of the brain machinery, it puts
no information into it. On the contrary, the information which our brain acquires,
it gathers from the outside world, from our sense organs. We know, too, that
different parts of the brain are concerned with different functions, the varied
motor functions, the varied sensory functions, the visual, auditory, etc.
functions; we know that one part of the brain is reserved for speech and has
all the words written down in it, and so on.
a very real sense the brain appears to be an electronic information processing
machine, or rather many such ma-chines, all working simultaneously and in
parallel, and all being continuously monitored by a central computer to which
we assign the name of consciousness. The consciousness as-signs problems to
the sub-computers, and accepts answers to these problems as they are prepared
by the slave machines.
is the next challenge to biology to discover in detail how the brain works.
Luckily some of our colleagues are already at work on this matter. One approach
to the study of the brain is to model its operation; to try to so instruct
an electronic information processing machine so that it be-haves in a human-like
way, say in problem solving, in remembering, in speech, and so on. This approach
gives us insight into the logic of the neuronal switching network and has
already had some successes. We must remember, how-ever, that the very largest
electronic information processing machine so far made is far smaller in number
of nerve cells than even an illiterate octopus, which in turn is much smaller
in number of nerve cells than a human brain. As we get bigger electronic information
processing machines, and as we educate them in a more people-like way and
over a longer period of time, we should get correspondingly more insight into
the logic of brain operation.
second approach to the study of the brain is electrophysiology, finding out
how the nerve cells display in electrical form sensory stimuli, thought and
emotions. Certainly we are very far from knowing anything about the electrical
representation in our brain of thoughts and emotions. We do know something,
however, about the electrical representation of sensory stimuli. Professor
Hubei, for example, has already mapped out in some detail the way in which
the individual cells of the visual cortex present in the cat's brain the abstracted
components of motion in the visual field, and Professor Pogio has similarly
mapped out in some detail the electrical representation in the sensory cortex
of the monkey's sensation of joint movement. As our methodology improves,
we may hope for deepening of our understanding of the way
which brain activity is represented in electrical discharges by individual
neurons and neuronal networks.
finally there are the problems of the material nature of brain operation.
The brain cells are of course made of something. In the case of our man-made
electronic processing machines, the individual neurons are the product of
solid state physics. The individual units of our brain cells are not solid.
We speak, in the case of the brain, of sticky state physics, since they are
made of gooey matter. One would like to know, for example, of the way in which
memory works. Our understanding of the brain is still so primitive that until
recently it was impossible to even suggest a model of what happens when one
stores a fact in memory. Let us consider memory for a moment. By memory we
commonly mean permanent or long term memory. The scenes and events of childhood
last a lifetime, as does also the learned behavior of language. We all know
that there are short term memories too. We learn a new word and pronounce
it letter-perfect several times, and yet cannot remember it five minutes later.
The facts concerning the different kind of memory can be remembered in terms
of a model, not necessarily correct, but handy. Our model says that we be-have
as though incoming information is first stored in the brain in a temporary
way on a display board, or register. Information must be either transferred
from this register to others, or it must decay, disappear. The time constant,
the half-time for such decay in the register which first receives incoming
information, is of the order of a second or less. From the initial register
information moves to the second, which possesses a time constant of minutes,
perhaps five minutes. Here again, information must be transferred to further
registers or decay, and the further registers to which information may be
passed, the final registers, constitute the permanent memory. A wealth of
experimental and observational details support the three-stage model of our
memory machinery, and shows in addition that the short and medium term memories
are basically electrical in nature, the long term memory not. Thus the sudden
discharge of random electrical activity through the brain as by a blow renders
the victim not only unconscious, but permanently removes all memory of events
which took place a few seconds before the blow. By such random electrical
discharge the short term registers are apparently wiped clean, and denied
the opportunity to transfer to the other registers. But the medium term register
is itself electrical. Thus, suppose that an experimental animal, having learned
something, is subjected five minutes later to electroshock treatment, the
discharge of random electrical activities through the brain. The animal instantly
loses all memory of its learning. If, however, an hour is allowed to intervene
between learning and electroshock, learning persists unimpaired, or nearly
so. Something has happened in the interval. The memory has been converted
to a new form, a form which is resistant to electrical disturbance, a form
in which units of the brain have been somehow or other permanently altered.
What is the nature of this alteration? To make our discussion concrete, let
us discuss memory in terms of registers in which information is displayed.
The register is initially empty, a row of zeros. After something has been
learned and memorized, the units of the registers have been reset, by certain
of the zeros having been changed to ones. Information is now encoded in the
register. Information is displayed. In the permanent memory, the elements
of the register are either individual neurons, or more probably individual
junctions between neurons. Re-setting of an element of the register means
that a change in the properties of that element has taken place. In the case
of the short and medium term memories such change is reversible, and in fact
reversed by time as well as by electrical activity. In the case of permanent
memory, the changes in electrical properties associated with the resetting
of the units of the register are permanent ones. The bulk of neuroanatomical
evidence indicates that learning and memory are not associated with the formation
of new electrical junctions, not associated with, as we say, the soldering
of the system. We think rather in terms of changes in chemical properties
of the neurons involved. During the last three years, it has become evident
from the work of Holger Hyden, John Gaito, and others, that the act of learning
and storing information in permanent memory is associated with increases in
content of RNA in those portions of the brain which are involved in such learning
and memory. John Gaito has done an elegant experiment, for example, in which
rats are taught a simple lever-pushing-for-food task. The RNA content of different
parts of the cortex of such rats has been compared with those of non-learned
rats. The results border on the spectacular. In two regions of the cortex,
both concerned with the learning task, two-fold increases in RNA amounts accompany
learning of the task. Such alterations in amount of RNA are not found in any
part of the cortex. We have, then, quite good reason to suspect that increases
in RNA content are associated with those alterations in the neuron or neuronal
network which constitute long term memory. What further can we say about RNA
and memory? It has of course been suggested that information stored in memory
is stored in the form of new RNA molecules which then contain the experimential
data written out in RNA language. No thought is so fantastic that the molecular
biologist should not try thinking it'for a while. The present thought becomes,
however, less and less appetizing as one thinks about it. It requires that
information originally encoded in electrical form be transcribed into base
sequence form. It requires neurons to manufacture RNA of base sequences not
specified by their DNA. This is, as we all know, very anti party line, since
in normal cells of higher creatures all RNA is made by DNA-dependent RNA synthesis,
and the neurons of the cortex are no exception to the general rule. My own
suggestion is that electrical input into a neuron derepresses a particular
gene, which is present in the genome of all cells, and whose function it is
to be derepressed by electrical activity in neurons, by this particular modality
of effector substance. Derepression of such a previously repressed gene would
result in increased RNA synthesis as is observed. The gene once derepressed
may stay derepressed for evermore, thus causing a permanent change in posture
of the unit, a
change in this portion of the register, the encoding of a unit of permanent
memory. This hypothesis may be tested in a variety of ways, although such
tests have not yet been conducted. It will be exciting to try them out. It
would appear that the molecular nature of memory is now a subject ripe for
so, brain biology is the next great challenge—the challenge to break
the brain code. It will be an enormous task, but it is already clear that
it can be accomplished. As we get to know more about the way our brain operates
we can learn to use it better. We can learn to teach more effectively, to
learn more effectively, to think more effectively, to feel more effectively.
Our ultimate conquest of the secrets of the brain will come just in time,
too, because in the mean-time our (now simple) man-made information processing
ma-chines will have become formidable creatures. Remember that the first electronic
information processing machine was sold just ten years ago, and see how far
they've come in the intervening period. By the time another generation or
two has passed, the time that we have full knowledge of our own brains, our
man-made information processing machines will have become very smart indeed.
They may have even set up research centers for finding out how to improve
themselves, as well as biological research centers to find out how they may
reproduce themselves, instead of depending upon man. If man is not to become
obsolete, he must keep up in the development of his own brain power with the
development of these machines which at present are our slaves.
our understanding and control over our brain grows, it will not be surprising
to see appreciable changes in our species. One of the most desired objectives
of applied biology is to prolong the health and well-being of the individual
human. We are gradually learning to preserve the body, and will no doubt succeed
ultimately very well indeed. To pre-serve the body is, however, not so useful
unless we can preserve the brain, and this is today a problem. We are each
of us born with ten billion nerve cells, but our brain does not have the ability
to add to this initial endowment. Furthermore, our brain cells gradually die.
After the age of 35 we lose a hundred thousand or so per day, and after a
sufficient number of years we begin to notice the deprivation. We grow absent-minded
and forgetful, and ultimately attain the mental senility of old age. How nice
it would be if we could but mate our new knowledge of developmental biology
to our knowledge of brain biology, and encourage a judicious multiplication
of the neurons of the brain, a multiplication which would take place in just
sufficient amount to balance neuronal loss. These new neurons will of course
have no information stored in them initially, but we can fill them full of
information since in the generations to come we will be learning continuously
throughout our lives. Even today we must, it is said, spend a third of our
time in continuing education or we become intellectually obsolete. By such
continued retraining, our new neurons can be scuffed full of newly acquired
information and made useful. By such strategy we may hope to keep man alert
and intellecntally productive for a larger portion of his life span. We may
even ultimately be able to produce theoretical physicists who are productive
at the age of 60.
our conquest of the brain approaches completion, it will not be surprising
either if mankind begins to wish for new kinds of sense organs, sense organs
not granted to us heretofore. How nice, for example, to have receptors and
transmitters for microwave transmission of information, so that we may talk
and listen to people at a distance. It will doubtless become possible ultimately
to directly wire such new sense organs into the appropriate junctions of the
cerebral network, so that they operate directly upon the cerebral network,
just as do our present organs of hearing and speaking.
brain is today about as big as we can handily carry about. If it were twice
as large it would be quite a load. Even so, people of the future who will
depend even more than we do today upon full exploitation of their brainpower,
will doubtless want to have bigger brains. We will think, in these days of
the future, of growing our brains larger, and this will be possible because
we will be able to leave them at home. With the development of sense organs
for microwave communication there will be no reason why the individual sense
organs cannot be made independent so that they can travel on their own, transmitting
their acquired information to the brain by microwave. The brain will stay
at home in a warm, comfy room, concentrating its efforts on thought, while
the sense organs roam the world, seeing, talking, listening, playing—and
continuously in communication with the head office. We will enjoy a new freedom—freedom
from carrying the head around.
and this will doubtless come in the days of the next, next, new biology, after
our understanding of self-duplicating information processing machines is rather
complete, we may very well give thought to the question of whether the gooey,
sticky things of which we are made, nucleic acids, proteins, lipids, and the
like, are really the most suitable construction materials for such highly
sophisticated, long-lived creatures as mankind will then be. People will say
things like, "Maybe a silicone backbone with four different markers would
be better than deoxyribose and phosphodiester bonds. It would be less susceptible
to cosmic rays and more resistant to attack by the strange new organisms which
have just been found on the moons of Jupiter." And doubtless, too, there will
be enthusiasm on the part of some vocal minority group for going over to a
decimal genetic code, rather than a four letter one. I can just imagine the
Dupont Company of that day beating the drums for their own replacement chemicals,
"Better Living Things Through Chemistry" will be the slogan of the Dupont
Company of that time. Man will have the opportunity to literally remake himself
in whatever image he chooses.
And so, I see the next greatest of challenge as the exploration of ourselves,
the acquisition of a full understanding of that wonderful instrument which makes
biology, and indeed science, possible—that marvelous device which we call
from the Editor
my note in the last issue of the Bulletin, Dr. James L. Walters (University
of California, Santa Barbara) called my attention to a highly pertinent essay
on the word "protoplasm," published by his colleague, Dr. Garrett Hardin,
as well as a rebuttal to Dr. Hardin's paper. In 1960 the AIBS published a
brochure by Dr. Hardin, "Do we need the word protoplasm?" covering this topic,
as an adjunct to its secondary school biological sciences film series. This
brochure and the following two papers should be of interest to anyone wishing
some additional views on "the word."
Garrett. 1956. Meaninglessness of the word proto-
Scientific Monthly 82: 112-120.
Roland. 1956. The meaning of protoplasm. Scientific Monthly 83:35.
Walters has further called my attention to the classic essay by Pirie, which,
as he suggests, is pertinent to this discussion:
N. W. 1938. The meaninglessness of the terms Life and Living. In Perspectives
in Biochemistry, pp. 11-22. Cambridge University Press.
are pleased to announce that the National Science Foundation has approved
the University of Massachusetts' proposal for the Botanical Society's Sixth
Summer Institute, scheduled for June 20 to July 15, 1966. Additional details
will be provided in the next issue of the Bulletin. Anyone wishing to be placed
on the mailing list for an early copy of the Institute's brochure should write
to Dr, Edward L. Davis, Department of Botany, University of Massachusetts,
S. N. Postlethwait of Purdue University, Chairman of the Committee on Education,
will soon be sending each member of the Botanical Society a questionnaire
on "tachy" plants. The CUEBS Panel on Instructional Materials and Methods
is sponsoring and financing this project. Dr. Clarence E. Taft of Ohio State
University and Dr. Richard M. Klein of the New York Botanical Gardens are
cooperating with Dr. Postlethwait in the survey. For the enlightenment of
the uninformed (which recently included the Editor of the Bulletin) "tachy"
plants are "rapid" or "speedy" plants, being those that can complete their
life cycles within relatively short periods. Arabidopsis thaliana is probably
the most widely used "tachy" plant at the present time.
of Botanical Terminology
and William Smith Colleges
the October issue of the Plant Science Bulletin, Dr. Howard Stein proposes
that a committee be established to consider the problem of botanical terminology
and to make specific recommendations. That is probably the most efficient
way to revise and improve the legacy of terms which are becoming burdensome
to the field of general botany. The problem is not new, of course, nor is
it peculiar to botany.
discoveries and new ideas require a continual coining of terms which must
have limited and precise meanings. The problem arises when these terms, so
necessary in the specialized fields, are accepted uncritically by both authors
and professors, who present them, in turn, to the beginning students.
the situation of those studying introductory botany in liberal arts colleges.
The overwhelming majority of such students have no intention of doing any
advanced work in botany; rather, they elected botany because it seemed to
offer some promise of being an interesting way of fulfilling a part of their
science requirement. From their point of view, any simplification of the terminology
would be a step in the right direction. They are interested in learning about
plants, rather than in the terminology applied to plants.
we cannot do away with strictly botanical terms, nor would we want to. As
in any field of knowledge, it would be impossible to get along without some
of them at every level of discussion. However, because we have such an immense
amount of botanical knowledge worth teaching, our botanical vocabularies ought
to be reevaluated with reference to their appropriateness in the beginning
our introductory courses, we aim to present the major ideas of biology. One
of the most important is evolution, as suggested by a basic similarity in
cell structure, metabolism, and reproduction in the different plant groups.
When, as is too often the case, we use unique sets of terms for particular
plant groups, we are obscuring the real aim; we then are emphasizing differences
between the plants, rather than their similarities. A set of terms which could
be applied to all plant groups would make it easier for the students to understand
that we consider all structures bearing the same name to be homologous. For
instance, gametophytes should be called gametophytes in every case, regardless
of whether or not the students pick up the more specialized terms, Iike protonema
or prothallium or embryo sac. Similarly, megasporangium is to be preferred
to =cellos. Oogonium has much to recommend it as a general term for any egg-producing
structure, in spite of accepted usage; one unfamiliar with botanical literature
might assume that archegonium applies to the more primitive and more general
structure. Many botanists believe that we need both terms, although the single
term antheridium, for a sperm-producing structure, has presented no difficulties.
We might consider giving a wider meaning to spermagonium, which now has a
very limited application.
related topic concerns the number of spore types recognized in introductory
texts. Currently, there are more than 20 terms in common usage. Some are indispensable
(e.g. ascospore, basidiospore, teliospore), while others are of doubtful value
in a general course (e.g. akinete, aplanospore, auxospore, carpospore, chlamydospore,
oidium, sporidium, swarm spore). A few well-chosen terms would serve better
than a multitude.
generation ago, a uniform terminology would have been impossible, but perhaps
we have enough information now to attempt a revision. There is really no incentive
for textbook writers to make more than a few minor changes in the usual presentations.
Left to the authors of general texts, it might
a generation or longer to effect changes that should be made soon. A responsible
committee might be able to hasten these improvements.
Fifth Summer Institute for College
Teachers of Botany
of the important ancillary functions of the Botanical Society of America is
the sponsoring of summer institutes for college teachers of botany. In the
summer of 1965 The Botanical Society, with the financial aid and encouragement
of the National Science Foundation, sponsored such an institute at Michigan
State University in East Lansing. It was my pleasant privilege to be the Director
of this particular institute, and I would here acknowledge the help given
by Dr. Adolph Hecht, Dr. John Mason of our Science and Mathematics Teaching
Center, Dr. William B. Drew, the Chairman of our Department of Botany and
Plant Pathology, the staff of the Horticulture Department, and by members
of the University Business Office.
work of the Institute started in February with the selection of topics, the
invitations to the lecturers, and the printing of brochures and their distribution
to representative colleges. Notices were sent to various biological and botanical
magazines. Not long after the brochures were mailed, inquiries and requests
started arriving. While these were being handled, the final appointments to
the staff were made, and supplies for each week were ordered, in accordance
with the requests of the lecturers. Equipment, not purchasable on the grant,
was located so that it could be borrowed at the proper time. Busses were scheduled
for the field trips and rooms arranged for the lectures and laboratories.
Flats of seeds had to be planted weeks ahead of the laboratories.
more than five times as many applications were received than there were places
available, a system of grading and evaluation had to be established. The top
applicants were then notified that they had been accepted and an equal number
notified that they were alternates should any of the top candidates 'decline
to attend the Institute. Since most of the alternates declined to be an alternate,
the Director only hoped he would not find himself faced with unfilled spots.
All of the remaining applicants were notified that they could not be accommodated.
successful applicants, now called participants, were then sent a mass of materials
including maps of the campus, lists of local churches, recreation facilities,
and suggestions for reading materials. Between this time and the first day
of the Institute, the typical Director feels much like a gambler would, hoping
that he has covered his bets and that a full crew of lecturers and participants
would be too tedious to recount every detail of the operation of the Institute
once it actually started, but suffice it to say that a modicum of planning
must go on, looking several weeks ahead. As far as I know, the mortality rate
for Directors is extremely low, and most manage to survive the sometimes pleasant
received 300 requests for brochures and blanks. One hundred and forty-six
applied, and 27 were accepted plus two sent to us by the NSF on their foreign-participant
program. These participants came from 17 states of the Union and from three
foreign countries. Twenty of the 29 had Ph.D. degrees, and the remaining nine
had masters' degrees. The intelligence of the group varied about an unknown,
and hence undisclosable, mean, but none of them could be considered subaverage.
All were fine, earnest people, anxious for knowledge about the latest advances
in the various aspects of botany.
lecturers were drawn from various parts of the United States and Canada, but
some local experts were used. A few of the lecturers donated their time, and
for this we were very grateful. It might be of some interest simply to list
the topics covered in the lectures and laboratories so that the members of
the Society may have some concept of the coverage. The topics were developmental
anatomy, the history of cytology, chromosomal configurations and their use
in cytogenetics, developmental morphology including treated callus cultures
and the effects of light on growth, chemical taxonomy including practice in
making chromatograms and their use in systematic studies, the present status
of radiation studies on plants, mod-ern concepts on photosynthesis and respiration,
trends in ecology, the contributions of horticulture to botany, carbon dioxide
and plant growth, the collection and identification of plant fossils, fossils
and evolution, coal ball peels, the history of genetics, techniques in the
extraction and use of RNA, medical mycology, recent work in mycology, uses
of algae, detection of virus diseases by their symptoms, plant pathogens in
the soil, the collection and identification of mosses, the shoot apex in ferns,
sterile culture techniques in fern research, and the contributions that physics
can make to botany, especially in regard to photosynthesis. Other matters
were discussed and field trips were taken, but enough has been said to give
the reader an idea of what a Summer Institute might cover. My personal opinion
is that such institutes as the one outlined are very worthwhile and perform
an important service to the science of botany.
closing, I wish especially to reach the department chairmen in botany and
beg them to open their facilities to such institutes in the future. The NSF
offers scores of summer programs, but this particular type is the only one
servicing all of the facets of botany. The physical sciences and the animal
sciences are pushing hard for funds to upgrade people in their fields. They
are getting the bulk of the NSF money for institutes. Do we not have something
Michigan State University
increasing number of Botanical Society members listing an interest in botanical
teaching in the 1965-66 Year-book attests to a growing awareness of the importance
of teaching and the opportunities for improving our present methods of instruction.
view of the near-capacity attendance at the Teaching Section's symposium,
panel discussion, and presented papers' sessions at the Urbana meetings last
August, plans are already
made for the Section's forthcoming meetings at the University of Maryland.
Individual teachers who feel that they are doing an outstanding job in some
unique and refreshing way should begin thinking of the possibility of sharing
these procedures with others by participating at the coming sessions.
of the Teaching Section elected for the coming year are: Chairman, Paul A.
Vestal; Vice-Chairman, Helena A. Miller; Secretary- Treasurer, J. Louis Martens;
and A. J. B. Editorial Board Representative, Harriette V. Bartoo. For the
Maryland meetings, Dr. Martens, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois,
will receive abstracts for the Teaching of Botany Section. Those planning
to present a paper should communicate with him well in advance of the deadlines
that will soon be announced by the B.S.A. Program Chairman for the submission
of titles and abstracts. Members of the Botanical Society who wish to affiliate
officially with this section should write to the Secretary-Treasurer.
Louis Martens, Secretary-Treasurer Teaching Section, B.S.A.
Sustaining Membership Committee, composed of 30 members from all parts of
the United States (and its possessions), worked very hard to launch the campaign.
The Committee sent out some 350 letters, individually typed, to presidents
and heads of businesses.
a result the program starts with five sustaining members, and considering
the fact that other societies, long in the sustaining membership program,
have from 10 to 20 sustaining members, the program has started relatively
five sustaining members are:
Chairman wishes to thank the members of the Committee for their hard work,
clever ideas and devotion to the goal. He wishes especially to thank Robert
M. Giesy of Ohio State University for his aid in creating the letter that
of this committee included the following persons: Vernon Ahmadjian, Catherine
H. Bailey, Sandra L. Bell, Donald E. Bianchi, Jack M. Bostrack, Richard G.
Bowmer, Bert G. Brehm, James L. Brew baker, Joe H. Cherry, Arthur W. Cooper,
Tom S. Cooperider, Bradner W. Coursen, Temd R. Deason, William H. P. Emery,
Sister M. Veronica Fasbender, Richard T. T. Forman, Raymond A. Galloway, J.
H. B. Garner, Robert M. Giesy, Charles S. Gowans, Barton E. Hahn, H. David
Hammond, H. Keith Harrison, Raymond W. Holton, Richard M. Klein, Charles C.
Laing, B. T. Lingappa, Bruce Parker, Gene A. Pratt, Jaime Rosado-Alberio,
Howard J. Stein, Francis R. Trainor, Michael Treshow, Kenneth A. Wilson, Joseph
M. Wood, Victor B. Youngner.
J. Crockett, Chairman
Membership Committee Minutes of the Business Meeting
meeting was called to order by President Sharp at 1:00 p.m., August 16,
in Room 112 of Gregory Hall, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois.
Thirty-seven members were present at the beginning of the meeting but
this number swelled to approximately 100 members by the time the meeting
was underway. A quorum thus was present.
accordance with our By-laws the Secretary presented the names of those
on the Second Nominating Ballot who stood in the top three places as a
result of the balloting in which more than 1300 votes had been received.
These names listed in order of the highest in each category were as follows:
C. Bold, John N. Couch, Lincoln Con-stance.
President—Ralph Emerson, Warren H. Wagner, Jr., F. C. Steward.
Comm. (1966-1968)—Anton Lang, Norman H. Boke, Robert M. Page.
motion was made, seconded, and carried unanimously that the candidates with
the highest number of votes in each category be elected. The officers for
1966, therefore, are:
Harold C. Bold; Vice President: Ralph Emerson; Ed. Committee: Anton Lang.
Secretary reported for the Committee on Corresponding Members. The names
of Professor C. T. Ingold of England (mycologist) and Professor Arne Muntzing
of Sweden (geneticist) were presented. After appropriate motions both
workers were elected unanimously.
President presented Dr. Adolph Hecht of Washington State University as
the new Editor of the Plant Science Bulletin; and at the same time expressed
thanks to Dr. Stern, the retiring Editor, for his contributions in the
Secretary announced that recipients for the several awards made by the
Society had been selected and that the awards would be presented at the
annual Dinner for All Botanists.
Secretary reported that the Membership Committee which had been established
at the last Council Meeting, with the Secretary of the Society as Chairman
and with representatives in various Geographical Regions of the country,
had been functioning and that although it was impossible to know exactly
the effect the Committee had had on member-ship, it could be pointed out
that our increase this year had amounted to 186 new members in contrast
to 122 which was our total for the preceding four years. The Council has
instructed the Editor of the American Journal of Botany to include a membership
blank in the January and September issues of the American Journal of Botany
in order to make this more easily available to possible new members.
Crockett, as Chairman of the Committee on Sustaining Memberships, reported
five companies have joined us in this category. The five sustaining members
are Triarch Incorporated, Johnson Reprint Corporation, Stechert-Hafner,
Inc., E. Leitz, Inc., and Geigy Agricultural Chemicals. The Sustaining
Members pay an annual fee of $250 to the Society and receive all the benefits
of membership except voting and the holding of office. The President thanked
his Committee for their outstanding work and accomplishments.
The Secretary announced that reports from the various Topical and Geographical
Sections had been received and that these reports would be placed in the archives
of the Society along with the Minutes of the Business Meeting.
In the absence of Dr. Ralph Wetmore, Chairman of the Committee on Election
of Officers, the Secretary presented a report from this Committee. Although
amendments had been presented this spring in a mail ballot to the membership,
the Committee had actually been instructed to present its findings to the
1965 Council, at which Council the proposed amendments would be put into final
form for submission to the membership. At the Council Meeting on Sunday, the
15th of August, the Council had gone over the proposed amendments and made
certain changes. All the amendments which had been previously circulated to
the membership and which had received the majority of approval would be resubmitted
in their new form; however, to protect the Society the Council recommended
that Amendments XI and XII, dealing with the use and disposal of revenue by
the Society, be voted on at the present meeting even with wording that was
not completely acceptable. After proper motions Amendments XI and XII were
accepted as follows:
XI. General Prohibitions
any provision of the Constitution or Bylaws which might be susceptible to
a contrary construction:
Association shall be organized exclusively for scientific and educational
Association shall be operated exclusively for scientific and educational
part of the net earnings of the Association shall or may under any circumstances
inure to the benefit of any private share-holder or individual.
substantial part of the activities of the Association shall consist of
carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation.
Association shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing
or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of a
candidate for public office.
Association shall not be organized or operated for profit.
Association shall not
any part of its income or corpus, without the receipt of adequate security
and a reasonable rate of interest to;
any compensation, in excess of a reasonable allowance for salaries or
other compensation for personal services actually rendered, to;
any part of its services available on a preferential basis to;
any purchase of securities or any other property, for more than adequate
consideration in money's worth from;
any securities or other property for less than adequate consideration
in money or money's worth to; or
in any other transactions which result in a substantial diversion of its
income or corpus to any officer, member of the Governing Board, or substantial
contributor to the Association.
prohibitions contained in this subsection (7) do not mean to imply that the
Association may make such loans, payments, sales, or purchases to anyone else,
unless such authority be given or implied by other provisions of the Constitution
XII. Distribution on Dissolution
dissolution of the Association, the Board of Governors shall distribute the
assets and accrued income to one or more organizations as determined by the
Board, but which organization or organizations shall meet the limitations
prescribed in Sections (1)-(7), Article XI immediately preceding.
The President announced that the Summer Institute for College Teachers of
Botany was planned for the University of Massachusetts in 1966 and that a
proposal had been submitted to the National Science Foundation by the University
of Massachusetts for this purpose.
was announced that the Council had instructed the Treasurer to make the
names of new members known to Topical Section Chairmen or Secretaries
if this is requested.
Charles Heimsch, the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Botany,
summarized his written report to the Council. He pointed out that the
usual time lapse between receipt and publication of a paper in the American
Journal of Botany is approximately 10 months, the length of time being
due to the backlog of papers for the Journal. The Editor acknowledged
with thanks the co-operation that he has received from authors and reviewers
of papers for the American Journal of Botany.
interim report and budget of the Business Manager of the American Journal
of Botany were approved.
interim report and budget of the Treasurer were approved with the dues
to continue as in the past year.
Secretary reported that as a result of action by the Council, at the suggestion
of the Program Director of the Society, the program for the Botanical
Society at the next annual meeting with the AIBS at the University of
Maryland would be extended to four days, if necessary, rather than three
days as has been the practice in the past. The Program Director was also
instructed by the Council to return incorrect abstracts to the authors
for corrections with a return deadline of 48 hours after receipt by the
author of the incorrect abstract.
Harold C. Bold, Chairman of the Resolutions Committee, presented the following
it resolved that the Botanical Society of America is grateful to Dr. Dominick
Paolillo and his colleagues at the University of Illinois for their efficient
management of our meeting and for the excellent facilities provided."
being no additional business before the Society, the meeting was adjourned.
C. Starr, Secretary Botanical Society of America
death of Professor Rudolf Florin, Swedish paleobotanist, has terminated one
of the most remarkable and productive botanical research careers of modern
times. For more than 40 years Professor Florin had focused his attention on
conifers and taxads. Although he has been regarded as primarily a specialist
on the fossil members of these groups, he was strongly aware of the fact that
problems of morphology and phylogeny could be effectively dealt with only
when all evidence is taken into consideration. Consequently living conifers
and taxads came in for a major share of attention. Much of his research material
was the cutinized epidermal fragments that are sometimes retained on compressed
fossils, and which by utilization of proper techniques can be studied. Although
fossilized cuticles were known to exist long before Professor Florin began
working with them, detailed studies of this seemingly unpromising material
had been attempted
in a few isolated instances. Even less attention had been paid to epidermal
characters in taxonomic studies of living taxads and conifers. On the basis
of distinctive characters revealed by the epidermis Professor Florin was able
to recognize several new extinct forms, and he even named a few new living
genera, Pilgerodendron and Nothotaxus being examples. Much credit, therefore,
goes to him for revealing the possibilities of cuticle characters in taxonomy,
not only of fossil plants, but of living ones as well.
Florin has left an impressive list of publications, impressive not only for
the length of certain numbers and the scope of the subject matter, but for
general excellence and the extraordinary amount of painstaking research revealed.
If some particular one of his publications were to be singled out as especially
outstanding, it would unquestionably be "Die Koniferen des Oberkarbons and
des unteres Perms" which appeared in eight parts in Volume 85B of Palaeontographica
between 1938 and 1945. This work consists of 729 quarto size pages and 186
plates. While executing this formidable task he also found time to prepare
the most extended contribution ever written on fossil Ginkgoales, "Die fossilen
Ginkgophyten von Franz-Joseph-Land," published in Volumes 81B and 82B of Palaeontographica
and embracing 254 pages and several plates. In the meantime, and subsequently,
there appeared under his authorship important papers on cycadophytes and other
plants, mostly being the results of research with cutinized material One particular
feature was his stress on the taxonomic significance of the relation of the
guard cell pairs to the encircling cells when considered in conjunction with
other features of the epidermis. One legacy of these studies is two technical
terms, haplocheilic and syndetocheilic, which specify whether the guard cell
pairs and their encircling cells develop independently of each other or from
a common mother cell. Another major contribution was to show the undoubted
homology between the cordaitean inflorescence and a modern coniferalean cone,
thus settling a controversy of long duration.
addition to the many honors and citations Professor Florin received in his
own country, he was made a Corresponding Member of the Botanical Society of
America. In 1949 he gave the Prather Lectures at I-Iarvard University, and
in 1960 he gave a series of lectures at the University of California under
the Hitchcock Foundation. The latter are contained in his last major publication
"The Distribution of Conifer and Taxad Genera in Time and Space" (Acta Horti
Bergiani, Bd. 20, pp. 121-312, 1963). In 1954 he became the first president
of the International Organization of Paleobotany, and was made an Honorary
Member of it in 1964. His last professional appointment was the directorship
of the Bergianska Trādgārden at Stockholm, a post he held until
retirement in 1964.
Florin's personal qualities will always be re-membered and cherished by his
colleagues everywhere. He was congenial, but quiet and humble. His cordiality
and ease with which he adapted himself always made him a welcome guest. Whenever
called upon to act as host, his hospitality was without restraint. He was
entirely free, however, of obsequiousness. Although argumentation was not
an obsession with him, he would enter into discussion with enthusiasm. But
through it all, even when confronted by opinionated individuals holding strongly
divergent views, he would maintain his composure and amiability which were
so characteristic of him. Coupled with these traits was the ability to think
clearly and independently, both of which are strongly revealed in his writings.
new brochure, Review and Approval Procedures, Public Health Service Grant
and Award Programs (PHS Publication No. 909), may be obtained by writing to
the Information Office, Division of Research Grants, National Institutes of
Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20014.
procedures described in the new brochure are of interest to the scientific
community in view of the vast number of grant applications received each year
by PHS and the extent of federal support of biomedical research. The description
includes the process of initial review and recommendations made by study sections
and committees for further consideration by the national advisory councils.
Applications reviewed by these groups include those requesting support of
research projects, research fellowship and training grants, and construction
of research facilities. These groups, which meet three times a year, provide
the expert and objective advice necessary to maintain the highest scientific
standards in the prosecution of PHS research support pro-grams in the national
Lyman B. Smith, formerly Curator-in-Charge of the Division of Phanerogams
in the Smithsonian Department of Botany, has been appointed Senior Scientist
in that Department. This appointment will relieve Dr. Smith of all administrative
duties and permit him to devote full time on his research to prepare a monograph
on the Bromeliaceae. Dr. John J. Wurd&k has been made Acting Curator-in-Charge
of the Division of Phanerogams. Dr. E. Yale Dawson has joined the Department
of Botany staff as Curator in the Division of Cryptog`r~ams. Dr. Dawson is
an eminent algologist with special interests in the red algae and benthic
marine algae in general. His main task other than his personal re-search will
be to develop the algal collections of the Smithsonian and plan an extended
program of algal research.
Haig Dermen, having recently retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
will be available for seminars for students and faculty of departments of
botany, horticulture, and genetics on the subjects of his specialties: colchiploidy,
cyto- and genetic-chimeras, variegations, cytohistogenesis and the cytogenetics
of fruits. He will continue in his cytological work as a collaborator of the
USDA, and hence his address will continue to be the same as listed in the
Botanical Society Yearbook.