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Đang xem: Occupy the spotlight là gì
The first two decades of this century were dominated by the microbe hunters. These hunters had tracked down one after another of the microbes responsible for the most dreaded scourges of many centuries: tuberculosis, cholera, diphtheria. But there remained some terrible diseases for which no microbe could be incriminated: scurvy, pellagra, rickets, beriberi. Then it was discovered that these diseases were Câused by the lack of vitamins, a trace substance in the diet. The diseases could be prevented or cured by consuming foods that contained the vitamins. And so in the decades of the 1920‟s and 1930‟s, nutrition became a science and the vitamin hunters replaced the microbe hunters.
In the 1940‟s and 1950‟s, biochemists strived to learn why each of the vitamins was essential for health. They discovered that key enzymes in metabolism depend on one or another of the vitamins as coenzymes to perform the chemistry that provides cells with energy for growth and function. Now, these enzyme hunters occupied center stage.
You are aware that the enzymes hunters have been replaced by a new breed of hunters who are tracking genes – the blueprints for each of the enzymes – and are discovering the defective genes that Câuse inherited diseases – diabetes, cystic fibrosis. These gene hunters, or genetic engineers, use recombinant DNA technology to identify and clone genes and introduce them into bacterial cells and plants to create factories for the massive production of hormones and vaccines for medicine and for better crops for agriculture. Biotechnology has become a multibillion-dollar industry.
In view of the inexorable progress in science, we can expect that the gene hunters will be replaced in the spotlight. When and by whom? Which kind of hunter will dominate the scene in the last decade of our century and in the early decades of the next? I wonder whether the hunters who will occupy the spotlight will be neurobiologists who apply the techniques of the enzyme and gene hunters to the functions of the brain. What to call them? The head hunters. I will return to them later.