9. An experimental breakthrough

Beth Dombroski was an attractive, dark-haired young lady who had recently finished her Ph.D. in the Chemistry department at Johns Hopkins University with Tom Tullius. Her first paper had been a first-author paper in Science on a new method of DNA “foot-printing,” discovering where on a DNA molecule proteins interacted. She came from Reading, Pennsylvania, and had done her undergraduate degree at Shippensburg, a small, highly regarded, liberal arts university in Eastern Pennsylvania. She was eager to work on the biology of L1.

However, we still needed a hook to get into the problem. How would we separate a small group of L1 elements that contained the precursor to either the JH-27 or JH-28 element from the remaining ...

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