The Discovery of RNA Splicing at 40: (2017, 1977) History, Memory, and Social Justice

The Discovery of RNA Splicing at 40: (2017, 1977) History, Memory, and Social Justice

Pnina Geraldine Abir-Am, Brandeis University


20:00 At the Edelstein Center

Abstract: The discovery of RNA splicing four decades ago in 1977, (which won a Nobel Prize in 1993), is a major discovery in molecular biology which broke the dogma of co-linearity between RNA and DNA. further enabling a new understanding of “split genes” and the process of “editing” as new aspects of evolution. This talk examines the scientists’ strategies of recall, the public memory of the discovery, and issues raised by new historical research. The talk seeks to clarify why junior, women, and foreign scientists who played a key role in this discovery, are often forgotten.

Speaker BIO: Dr. Pnina G. Abir-Am, a Resident Scholar at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center since 2007, and a recent affiliate of its Schusterman Center for Israeli Studies, has published widely in the history of molecular biology, the history of public memory, the history of women and gender in science, and the history of science funding. Most recently, she presented at the US History of Science Society Annual Meeting; (Atlanta,  Nov. 3-6) the European Society for History of Science; (Prague, September 22-24) and the 3 Societies (British, American, & Canadian) Quadrennial Meeting in History in Science. (Edmonton/Alberta/Canada, June 22-25) Together with Bill Summers of Yale she co-organized a session on the 40th anniversary of RNA splicing to take place at the Annual AAAS Meeting in Boston, (February 16-20, 2017) which includes leading scientists from the US and HUJ-Israel.