Henry Muller - Research, X-Rays, Intentional Mutations

Out of the Night - book on eugenics 1936

(Out Of The Night : Muller,h.j. : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive)

Muller was born in New York City, the son of Frances (Lyons) and Hermann Joseph Muller, Sr., an artisan who worked with metals. Muller was a third-generation American whose father’s ancestors were originally Catholic and came to the United States from Koblenz.[3] His mother’s family was of mixed Jewish (descended from Spanish and Portuguese Jews) and Anglican background, and had come from Britain.[3][4] Among his first cousins are Herbert J. Muller and Alfred Kroeber (Kroeber is Ursula Le Guin’s father).[3] As an adolescent, Muller attended a Unitarian church and considered himself a pantheist; in high school, he became an atheist.[5] He excelled in the public schools. At 16, he entered Columbia College. From his first semester, he was interested in biology; he became an early convert of the Mendelian-chromosome theory of heredity—and the concept of genetic mutations and natural selection as the basis for evolution. He formed a biology club and also became a proponent of eugenics; the connections between biology and society would be his perennial concern. Muller earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1910.[6]

In 1914, Julian Huxley offered Muller a position at the recently founded William Marsh Rice Institute, now Rice University; he hurried to complete his Doctor of philosophy degree and moved to Houston for the beginning of the 1915–1916 academic year (his degree was issued in 1916). At Rice, Muller taught biology and continued Drosophila lab work. In 1918, he proposed an explanation for the dramatic discontinuous alterations in Oenothera lamarckiana that were the basis of Hugo de Vries’s theory of mutationism: “balanced lethals” allowed the accumulation of recessive mutations, and rare crossing over events resulted in the sudden expression of these hidden traits. In other words, de Vries’s experiments were explainable by the Mendelian-chromosome theory. Muller’s work was increasingly focused on mutation rate and lethal mutations. In 1918, Morgan, short-handed because many of his students and assistants were drafted for the U.S. entry into World War I, convinced Muller to return to Columbia to teach and to expand his experimental program.[9]

2 Likes

Ok - now I’m wondering how artificial parthogenesis may relate to bio-physics, crystallography, bio-geochemistry. Jacque Loeb was at Bryn Mawr initially (Quaker).

" While there, Jacques Loeb performed his most famous experiment, on artificial [parthenogenesis](Parthenogenesis - Wikipedia). With this experiment, Loeb was able to cause the sea urchins’ eggs to begin embryonic development without sperm. The slight chemical modifications of the water in which the eggs were kept, served as the stimulus for the development to begin.[" @Stephers

See image @leo re biophysics

3 Likes

Did not know there was a feature film made about Thomas Hunt Morgan’s “Fly Room” at Columbia University in 2016. http://theflyroom.com/ @leo @Stephers

1 Like

Hermann Muller, father of radiation genetics, obituary.

http://www.nasonline.org/publications/biographical-memoirs/memoir-pdfs/muller-hermann.pdf

1 Like

From Reiser’s “Cosmic Humanism” on Muller’s radio-mutation work.

1 Like

I had no idea. This film looks super creepy.

https://collections.libraries.indiana.edu/muller/exhibits/show/fly-room/page-1
https://kalderonlab.biology.columbia.edu/content/why-drosophila

Nonetheless, it does bring this to mind:

https://www.behnialab.neuroscience.columbia.edu

In the Behnia lab, we want to understand how animals choose appropriate behaviors in response to the chaotically dynamic world they live in. Behavior is an end result of the activity of ensembles of neurons in the brain interpreting complex information coming from sensory receptors, and translating them into relevant motor actions. But exactly which neuronal circuits interpret sensory information and how these circuits drive specific behavior is relatively unknown.

In this context, we focus on how sensory information is encoded within the brain. We ask how computations used for encoding information are implemented at the circuit and cellular level and how different neuronal types carry out the algorithms necessary for the circuit to function. We are also interested in understanding how these sensory circuits are modulated by internal states such as motivation and attention.

The Drosophila visual system is a perfect model for investigating these questions. The fly brain is significantly complex yet compact. With about 1,000 times fewer neurons than mice and 1,000,000 times fewer than humans, the fly brain presents us with the opportunity to research neuronal properties at a much higher resolution. The fruit fly is also capable of many sophisticated, visually-guided behaviors, providing us with a ‘read-out’ for manipulation of the system. This, combined with the availability of a large set of genetic tools to manipulate neuronal function makes it an ideal system to study circuits underlying sensory processing.

2 Likes

Returning to sea urchins (echinoderms) – as per this thread and your video at Johns Hopkins released today (August 22, 2022)…

Previous studies have shown that molecules similar to the human “love hormone” oxytocin cause starfish to extend their stomach out of their mouths and initiate feeding. However, it was not known which chemicals have the power to do the opposite and terminate feeding behavior in these animals.

Using the common starfish Asterias rubens for experiments, the research team investigated the effects of SK/CCK-type neuropeptides—a type of hormone known to inhibit feeding in humans and insects. They found that when they injected the hormones into the starfish, the animals retracted their stomachs. Even when the scientists presented the starfish with their favorite meal, a mussel, they found that the starfish were less inclined to feed after being injected with the SK/CCK-type neuropeptides.

Starfish belong to a group of animals known as echinoderms. Echinoderms occupy a unique evolutionary position, acting as a “missing link” between well-studied vertebrates and insects such as the fruit fly, Drosophila. This feature makes starfish and other echinoderms like sea urchins, useful animal models to help fill in gaps in our understanding of how different proteins evolved.

Dr. Ana Tinoco, Postdoctoral Research Assistant at Queen Mary and one of the lead authors of the study, said: “The unusual way that starfish feed where they evert their stomachs out of their mouths, makes them a good model to study chemicals that regulate feeding processes. Whilst we already knew that this type of hormone was important for feeding, what’s fascinating is that the important role of these chemicals in feeding in other animals has been preserved in starfish despite their dramatically different feeding behavior, lack of a brain and unique body plan.”

Professor Maurice Elphick, Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience at Queen Mary, said: "Our findings provide new evidence that SK/CCK-type neuropeptides have an evolutionarily conserved role as inhibitory regulators of feeding. The discovery of SK/CCK-type neuropeptides in starfish could also be useful for development of novel drugs to treat eating disorders. To accomplish this, more research needs to be done to determine the 3D structure of the receptor proteins that mediate effects of SK/CCK-type neuropeptides in humans and other animals.

“With recent breakthroughs in the use of AI to determine protein structures the potential of using basic science research like this to develop new treatment options becomes much more achievable.”

Zoe N. Canellakis | Henry Koerner Center for Emeritus Faculty (co-author of sea urchin study above)

Note: Spermidine sea urchin study above was out of Johns Hopkins - Yukari Manabe:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/yukari-manabe-a4239b72

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/research/labs/yukari-manabe-lab

https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/Yukari-C-Manabe-38656030/publications/4

On Y.C. Manabe ~ I find it to be an interesting research pivot from sea urchins in 1989, to tuberculosis, and then on to AIDS, and then COVID.

https://depts.washington.edu/vurchin/index.php?view=main

https://depts.washington.edu/vurchin/index.php?view=fertlab

Of course, I can’t help but see MAGENTA: