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The Symposia, 1933 — 2003

1942:   The Relation of Hormones to Development, Vol. X

Organizer: Milislav Demerec

Table of Contents

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Although the Symposia reached a milestone with this the tenth meeting, the circumstances of 1942 did not, as Demerec wrote in his introduction, lend themselves to a celebration. He expressed the hope that the meeting the following year would be held in happier times that "...would present a real opportunity..." for celebration. However, by the time he came to write the 1942 Annual Report, it had become clear that those happier times were far off and it was decided to postpone the Symposia indefinitely until conditions improved.

Demerec chose to make some changes to the meeting and published volume; the length of the meeting was reduced to only ten days; for the first time, there was a formal title for the Symposium; a list of earlier Symposia was provided; and all registered participants were listed, not just the speakers. Unfortunately, Demerec made two changes for the worse. The first was to leave out full transcripts of discussions; instead participants were invited to submit manuscripts of their contributions to the discussions. The second was to print the presentations in alphabetical order of author's names, rather than in the order presented, thus destroying the logical flow of the topics.

Attendance was good although the number of presentations was low—18. A wide variety of organisms and topics was covered, ranging from Tracy Sonneborn talking about sex hormones in unicellular organisms to Oscar Riddle on

hormones in mammals. Boris Ephrussi presented the work he and George Beadle had been doing, exploring biochemical genetics by transplanting tissues between different Drosophila mutants. While their successes were limited-it was difficult to isolate and identify the chemicals involved in minute samples of tissue-this work was the precursor to Beadle and Tatum's biochemical genetic studies using Neurospora that led to the one gene-one protein theory.

It is impossible to tell, from the rather meager accounts provided in the Biological Laboratory's annual report, whether the Symposia were a financial success, but sales of the books totaled a healthy $3087 in 1942. Demerec thanked the Rockefeller Foundation for the grants it had made in support of the Symposia since they began in 1933. He noted that the Foundation had made a final grant in 1942-this was for the very generous sum of $15,000-and he hoped that this would put the Symposia on a firm footing.

Jan A. Witkowski

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