The Present Paper deals with the cell, but we should not forget that the problems of the cell are at the same time the problems of the whole organism. I would like to consider briefly the gene and the cell, i.e., the relationship of genetic material to metabolism. I would like to consider this problem not only in terms of the cell, but in terms of man as well, since the field of biological research is not a field solely of academic interest. The problems of gene action and of the genetic control of metabolism are fields which are rapidly developing as fields of major importance to medicine, and, in fact, the impact of genetics may be perhaps felt most keenly in the years ahead in the field of pediatrics.
In discussing the genetic control of cellular metabolism, one might first ask: What is meant when we speak of the genetics of a cell or of man? Basically, we are concerned with the nature and action of the material which is transmitted from cell to cell or from organism to organism, and which determines the traits of the succeeding generation. It has been clearly shown that the genetic material of the cell resides in its chromosomes, and that chemically, it is a polydeoxyribonucleotide, designated DNA for short.1,2
What makes one think that genetic material controls cellular metabolism? In recent years, the cytology of human cells has enjoyed a great resurgence of interest. It is now possible to grow human cells in tissue culture, and by this means human chromo somes can be studied with great care and precision.
- Copyright © 1960 by the American Academy of Pediatrics