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Chapter 3 : Phage and Bacterial Genetics at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory *
One of the ways John Roth influenced many scientists was through teaching the Cold Spring Harbor Advanced Bacterial Genetics course. The course had a long tradition, evolving from earlier phage courses but retaining the core teaching approaches. Since its inception, the Phage course and subsequently the Advanced Bacterial Genetics course have trained many of the leaders in these fields. The molecular dissection of phage provided many important clues into central biological processes, but there were some questions that could not be answered with phage-questions that required studying cells directly. In 1950 Milislav Demerec began an offshoot of the Phage course that emphasized bacterial genetics. When both were consecutively taught, the Bacterial Genetics course immediately followed the Phage course, and many students took the two courses sequentially to obtain training in both phage and bacterial genetics. Over time many of the concepts and techniques from the Phage course were integrated into the Bacterial Genetics course until the two courses merged into a single course in 1971. A lab manual was published, which emphasized how genetics can be used to study pathogenic bacteria, a growing field with a dramatic need for researchers trained in bacterial genetics. Genetic characterization of diverse bacteria is important because they have practical applications and because the diversity of the organisms is likely to yield exciting new biological insights.