Raymond Gesteland on Jim Watson, Writer
  Raymond Gesteland     Biography    
Recorded: 04 Jun 2001

Jim as a writer, how could I talk about Jim as a writer? When I was a student he was writing the Molecular Biology of the Gene the first textbook. I can remember him bringing versions of those chapters in. I wasn’t struck by the writing being particularly great. He had a wonderful, fresh approach to how he should write about science for students, but it didn’t strike me as great writing. I mean, I found his style unique. Look at The Double Helix: it’s a really unique style that gets across Jim’s character so well. I think many writers write in a style that doesn’t let you into them very much, but Jim’s very style that you see into him. I don’t know what it is about the writing that gives it that flavor; it’s quite amazing.

Raymond Gesteland, biologist, has made progress in describing essential mechanisms for controlled gene expression. His research on recoding provides insight into replication of RNA viruses such as HIV and the genetic code. Gesteland also concentrates on ribosome function and response to mRNA signals.

He received a master’s degree in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin and earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University. After working at Alfred Tissières Laboratory in Geneva, in 1967, Gesteland arrived at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to work under Jim Watson as Assistant Director for Research.

Gesteland is currently Vice President for Research, Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics, and Chairman of the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah.