Producing rat insulin using recombinant DNA, Walter Gilbert
Interviewee: Walter Gilbert.
Walter Gilbert talks about his group's early success with isolating the rat insulin gene and making recombinant rat insulin.
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We were the first group to actually make rat insulin in bacteria and we knew we had made it because we got the insulin to fold into the right shape, the insulin molecule to fold in the right shape and be exported from the bacterium. A year or so later actually we tested the insulin to actually show that it functioned as insulin, but at the time we had just looked at its shape when we published that paper in 1978. That made rat insulin, it didn't actually make human insulin in a large enough amount to be used.
Synthetic human insulin was the first golden molecule of the biotech industry and the direct result of recombinant DNA technology. Currently, millions of diabetics worldwide use synthetic insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels. Synthetic insulin i