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Page FranzOswald AveryOswald Avery was born on October 21, 1877, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Avery attended NewYork Male Grammar School, then Colgate Academy, and finally Colgate University. Hereceived his BA in humanities and later, to many people’s surprise, he attended the College ofPhysicians and Surgeons in New York. He obtained his medical degree in 1904 and worked in ahospital till 1907, after that he went to work at Hoagland Laboratory in Brooklyn. He workedwith bacteria, he worked on many different bacteria strains. He did a lot of beneficial work, buthis most famous work was in 1913. He published a study of Tuberculosis Bacterium. This wasnew information to doctors everywhere and captured the attention of Dr. Rufus Cole, whoworked at Rockefeller Institute Hospital. Dr. Cole offered him a job there, and this is where hemade many more interesting discoveries. After joining Rockefeller, Avery mainly studiedstreptococcus pneumoniae (strep throat). He was looking at the work of Dr. Frederick Griffithand found that many strains of strep without a capsule are harmless. Dr. Griffith made livenon-capsulated strains and a heat-killed capsule strain. Dr. Griffith would inject these into miceand disease them. Avery used Dr. Griffith’s discoveries as a base for his own.Avery worked with Colin MacLeod and Maclyn McCarty, and the 1940s is when they firstreplicated Dr. Griffith’s work. They transformed the dead capsule strain into a live capsulestrain. After that, they concentrated the substance that caused the transformation. The found itonly took 0.01 micrograms the turn live cells into capsulated cells. They checked the substance’sphosphorous content and found more DNA than proteins. What they discovered was that DNAtransforms the strains, not proteins. They then altered the DNA by using enzymes that breakdown DNA. They concluded that DNA is what causes bacterial strains to turn from dead andunencapsulated to alive and encapsulated, making it genetic material, not just something simpleinside the human body. They published their work in 1944, and Avery later retired in 1948. Forhis work, Avery won the Copley Medal from the British Royal Society in 1945, and in 19547Avery received the Lasker Award, one of America’s most prestigious medicine prizes.Even though Avery died, his discoveries did not. When Avery discovered that DNA causesbacteria strains to change, he opened up a door in medicine. His discovery allowed doctors tochange how they approached and treated viruses. Without his discovery, people still might notknow about this and still be looking at the whole problem incorrectly. Working with otherscientists did help Avery because McLeod is the one came up with the technique to purify thetransforming solution. While there might have been some minor arguments, overall the threeworked well together. I believe that the problem with working with people is the differentviewpoints and the idea of who gets credit. If people’s viewpoints are vastly different, then theyare not going to work well together and talking about who gets credit stops progress andproductivity. Avery’s discovery was by different from many others, he was not specificallylooking for DNA, so this did not create much competition for him. Competition helps speed upwork because people are driven to finish first and win, but it can also slow down work becausepeople lose focus on what they are really doing and get lost in the competition. But in the end,Oswald Avery’s discoveries make him an unsung hero and a very unrecognized, influentialscientist.

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