Sager, Ruth | Cytoplasmic Genes and Organelles

  • First edition, first printing of this foundational work. Presentation copy inscribed by the author to Francis Crick, “Dear Francis - I hope this book encourages you to think about cytoplasmic genetic systems (optimistically). With my regards, Ruth Sager”.

    Ruth Sager (1918-1997) obtained her PhD under Barbara McClintock at Columbia and went on to become “renowned for her work on nonchromosomal genetics and cancer genetics” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 1144). When she began this research in the 1950s, “the prevailing view stated that in eukaryotes (cells containing structures such as nuclei), the genes occur only in the nucleus on the chromosomes. While she was at the Rockefeller Institute, Sager began to suspect the existence of genetic material outside the nucleus” (Ogilvie). Using the Chlamydomonas genus of algae as her model organism, Sager carried out classical genetic experiments that allowed her map the nonchromosomal genes and show that they were especially stable. “She suggested that they represent a second genetic system that provide the organism with stability, and perhaps represented the existence of an earlier genetic system that existed before the chromosomes” (Ogilvie). Sager also began to suspect that “an increasing number of human diseases resulted from mutations in genes in respiratory organelles, and turned her attention to human genetics, especially the genetics of cancer”, becoming one of the first scientists to study the role of mutations in suppressor genes as a primary cause of tumours.

  • New York & London: Academic Press, 1972.

    Octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine gilt, publisher’s device to upper board in blind, yellow endpapers. With the dust jacket. 8 double-sided plates from photomicrographs, diagrams and illustrations from photos throughout the text. Library card pocket on the front pastedown. Corners bumped, margins faintly toned. A very good copy in the rubbed and toned jacket with some ceasing and small chips at the edges.