OJGen  Vol.4 No.5 , September 2014
The Fate of Ochoa’s School in the Origins of Oncogenetics in US (I)
It was in the early eighties that a genuine school of spanish biochemists around Severo Ochoa participated in the oncogene races. Malignant cell transformation and oncogenes were put in relation during that era. Several prominent scientists coming from Spain have established and maintained a strong tradition of studies in the enzymology of retroviruses and transcriptional events. In this short historical account, we briefly pay tribute to these famous forerunners, by emphasizing both the originality and quality of their work, as well as the many accompanying conceptual and methodological analysis. We start with àngel Pellicer (1948-) who, amongst other contributions, first established the landmark experimental transfection protocol and nucleated the onset of oncogenetics with his discovery that ras oncogenes were activated by mitogenic factors. Whereas Manuel Perucho (1948-) can be considered as one of the pioneers, if not the founder, of the cloning of human oncogene, through his experiments on H-ras, and he became a milestone in diagnostic detection to allow hospital technicians to screen for mutant ras genes. More known Mariano Barbacid (1949-) established that ras oncogene was a kind of common denominator for cancer, and clarified that their functional differences were by a single point mutation. In conclusion, this history demonstrates how eager spanish biochemists trained by Eladio Viñuela were to maintain the tradition of Severo Ochoa’s long-standing scientific reputation in the US.

Cite this paper
Wulff-Barreiro, E. (2014) The Fate of Ochoa’s School in the Origins of Oncogenetics in US (I). Open Journal of Genetics, 4, 392-406. doi: 10.4236/ojgen.2014.45037.

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