The origin story and emergence of molecular biology is muddled. The early triumphs in bacterial genetics and the complexity of animal and plant genomes complicate an intricate history. This book documents the many advances, as well as the prejudices and founder fallacies. It highlights the premature relegation of RNA to simply an intermediate between gene and protein, the underestimation of the amount of information required to program the development of multicellular organisms, and the dawning realization that RNA is the cornerstone of cell biology, development, brain function and probably evolution itself. Key personalities, their hubris as well as prescient predictions are richly illustrated with quotes, archival material, photographs, diagrams and references to bring the people, ideas and discoveries to life, from the conceptual cradles of molecular biology to the current revolution in the understanding of genetic information.

Key Features

  • Documents the confused early history of DNA, RNA and proteins - a transformative history of molecular biology like no other.
  • Integrates the influences of biochemistry and genetics on the landscape of molecular biology.
  • Chronicles the important discoveries, preconceptions and misconceptions that retarded or misdirected progress.
  • Highlights major pioneers and contributors to molecular biology, with a focus on RNA and noncoding DNA.
  • Summarizes the mounting evidence for the central roles of non-protein-coding RNA in cell and developmental biology.
  • Provides a thought-provoking retrospective and forward-looking perspective for advanced students and professional researchers.

The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

chapter 1|7 pages


Size: 0.31 MB

chapter 2|14 pages

The Genetic Material?

Size: 6.91 MB

chapter 3|12 pages

Halcyon Days

Size: 3.26 MB

chapter 4|12 pages

Worlds Apart

Size: 7.41 MB

chapter 5|13 pages

Strange Genomes, Strange Genetics

Size: 3.91 MB

chapter 6|12 pages

The Age of Aquarius

Size: 5.50 MB

chapter 7|14 pages

All That Junk

Size: 4.87 MB

chapter 8|10 pages

The Expanding Repertoire of RNA

Size: 6.15 MB

chapter 9|13 pages

Glimpses of a Modern RNA World

Size: 7.84 MB

chapter 10|14 pages

Genome Sequences and Transposable Elements

Size: 5.36 MB

chapter 11|11 pages

The Human Genome

Size: 3.27 MB

chapter 12|15 pages

Small RNAs with Mighty Functions

Size: 5.99 MB

chapter 13|17 pages

Large RNAs with Many Functions

Size: 7.91 MB

chapter 14|16 pages

The Epigenome

Size: 10.23 MB

chapter 15|11 pages

The Programming of Development

Size: 7.02 MB

chapter 16|16 pages

RNA Rules

Size: 8.07 MB

chapter 17|14 pages


Size: 7.24 MB

chapter 18|4 pages

Beyond the Jungle of Dogmas

Size: 0.21 MB