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Annu Rev Biochem. 2009;78:1-28. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biochem.77.051906.142055.

Without a license, or accidents waiting to happen.

Author information

  • Division of Biological Sciences, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0634, USA. epg@biomail.ucsd.edu


This is a memoir of circumstances that have shaped my life as a scientist, some of the questions that have excited my interest, and some of the people with whom I have shared that pursuit. I was introduced to transcription soon after the discovery of RNA polymerase and have been fascinated by questions relating to gene regulation since that time. My account touches on early experiments dealing with the ability of RNA polymerase to selectively transcribe its DNA template. Temporal programs of transcription that control the multiplication cycles of viruses (phages) and the precise mechanisms generating this regulation have been a continuing source of fascination and new challenges. A longtime interest in eukaryotic RNA polymerase III has centered on yeast and on the enumeration and properties of its transcription initiation factors, the architecture of its promoter complexes, and the mechanism of transcriptional initiation. These areas of research are widely regarded as separate, but to my thinking they have posed similar questions, and I have been unwilling or unable to abandon either one for the other. An additional interest in archaeal transcription can be seen as stemming naturally from this point of view.

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