Microbiology Today February 2003

DNA50 Special issue

In this special issue we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of the structure of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick in Nature in 1953. Micro-organisms have always played an important role in DNA studies and this issue of Microbiology Today, which focuses on modern molecular microbiology, celebrates the momentous discovery. It forms one of SGM's contributions to the DNA50 programme of events in 2003 which is being co-ordinated by the Medical Research Council, the Royal Society and Nature (for details see www.dna50.org.uk).

The Society's President, Sir David Hopwood, FRS gives an overview of the topics covered and notes the enormous amount of progress made in our knowledge of molecular biology over the past half century. Articles on DNA repair in bacteria , gene therapy, which today is most effective using viruses , and RNA replication and host plant defence show the range of current understanding. Microbial genomics has made a huge impact in recent years and this features in two articles by members of the Pathogen Sequencing Unit of The Wellcome Trust Sanger Centre (1. Come the revolution , 2. Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt ).

The SGM's scientific meeting at UMIST in September is the Society's other major contribution to DNA50 events. The Main Symposium Exploiting Genomes: bases to megabases in 50 years is described in detail in an article by Petra Oyston and David Kelly.

Other articles look back, one to the state of microbiology 50 years ago and another to the controversy about smallpox vaccination in the 19th century . Rabies is a present-day issue of concern which Mary Warrell addresses in Comment .

Hot off the Press [Acrobat PDF] highlights some new developments in microbiological research published in the Society's journals - Microbiology, Journal of General Virology, International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology and Journal of Medical Microbiology. Topics covered include:
  • What the eye can't see
  • Impact of meningococcal vaccine
  • Persistent pathogens
  • Rabies alert in Australia
  • Spore-forming Gram-negative bacterium
  • Chimeras raise their heads
  • TB from the 18th century

Other items include:

Last updated 29 May 2003