Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

50 & 100 Years Ago

50 Years Ago

By now even schoolboys know that molecules of DNA are the embodiment of genetic inheritance...But DNA is not merely archival material. It also serves as an ever-present touchstone by which the biochemical integrity of an individual is sustained, and much of the excitement in molecular biology...has been concerned with the detailed understanding of how genetically determined molecules of DNA put their stamp on the chemical structure of the protein molecules manufactured by living cells...Yet there has remained the problem of knowing how the synthetic activities of living cells are regulated...In 1961 Jacob and Monod put forward a remarkably perceptive explanation...Unwanted or irrelevant pieces of DNA molecules, they said, are somehow switched off or rendered ineffectual by the intervention of smaller molecules manufactured under the aegis of other regions of the same DNA molecule...People talk of regulator genes, and of the repressor molecules the production of which they control.

From Nature 15 April 1967

100 Years Ago

It is noteworthy that English physicists have taken very little interest in the progress which has been made during the last ten years in atmospheric electricity...There can now be no doubt that the earth is giving off a constant stream of negative electricity which passes at least into the upper atmosphere, and probably into cosmical space. Are we justified in treating something which will be explained in due time by the old laws of physics, or should we not recognise the possibility that we have here indications of a new property of matter?

From Nature 12 April 1917 Footnote 1


  1. 1.

    See all news & views

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

50 & 100 Years Ago. Nature 544, 169 (2017).

Download citation


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing