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Preserving History at the U.S. National Library of Medicine

Preserving History at the U.S. National Library of Medicine, by Kristi Davenport, Peter Gabriele, Stephen Greenberg, Holly Herro, Christie Moffatt, Paul Theerman, and Jeffrey S. Reznick, History News Network (May 23, 2011).

In this landmark year for the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM)–its 175th anniversary–its staff have been facing down nature through a project that looks to the next 175 years and beyond. Engaging in the emerging field of forensic conservation–a cross-over application of forensic science and state-of-the-art analytical technologies–staff are seeking to protect and save for future generations one of the most important historical documents of the twentieth century: the first summary of the genetic code, created by the American biochemist and 1968 Nobel Laureate, Dr. Marshall Nirenberg (1927-2010), whose papers the Library makes publicly available through Profiles in Science, the NLM’s premier digital manuscript project that celebrates twentieth-century leaders in biomedical research and public health.

Written in multiple blue-ballpoint pen inks on several sheets of 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper taped together with pressure-sensitive tape, the Nirenberg genetic code chart records the author’s deciphering of the genetic code contained in DNA.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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