RNA Splicing at 40: Reflecting on Scientific Progress, Policy, and Social Justice

Saturday, February 18, 2017: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Room 309 (Hynes Convention Center)
Scientific anniversaries are occasions for reflecting, comparing, and reassessing the meaning of events leading to, or following up, a significant discovery. The 40th anniversary of the discovery of RNA splicing is an opportunity to reflect on both the scientific progress stimulated by this key discovery and on issues of social justice left unresolved by the scientific community in the aftermath of this discovery. For example, several lab directors shared the 1993 Nobel Prize for this accomplishment, yet first coauthor scientists who were women or more junior scientists remain absent from standard accounts of the discovery. To draw science policy lessons that may resolve such issues of social justice, this session seeks to better understand how the meaning of the RNA splicing discovery has changed in the last four decades: Did junior and women scientists encounter bias in exercising their agency in the historical context of the 1970s? Was this discovery perceived at the time as "simultaneous" in two or more labs, or was this perception a construct of the literature and other social forces?
Pnina G. Abir-Am, Brandeis University
William C. Summers, Yale University
William C. Summers, Yale University
Thomas R. Broker, University of Alabama
Ruth Sperling, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
From Virus Structure to Spliceosome Function Via RNA Splicing