Cohesive (sticky) ends and their significance in genetic engineering, Paul Berg
Interviewee: Paul Berg. Cohesive (sticky) ends and their significance in genetic engineering.
Cohesive end in this particular context means that if you take two DNAs that have single strands protruding from their ends, and if these single strands are able to pair with each other by the same rules that DNA strands are held together, then these two molecules could come together. And what Janet showed was that if two DNAs were cut with this particular enzyme, called Eco R-1, then they could be joined and fused together to make recombinant DNAs. And that was a hugely important discovery, because it bypassed the need of the complicated procedures that we had developed in order to bring two molecules together.
Paul Berg's student, Janet Mertz, planned an experiment that would recombine DNA from a monkey virus with DNA from a bacterium that lives in the human gut. Berg describes colleague Bob Pollack's outrage at this.