Linearthinker suggested this article on how LSD led to the discovery of DNA.
FRANCIS CRICK, the Nobel Prize-winning father of modern genetics, was under the influence of LSD when he first deduced thedouble-helix structure of DNA nearly 50 years ago.There is a video about LSD at the site that is most interesting. Have a look. Albert Hoffman has a few things to say.
The abrasive and unorthodox Crick and his brilliant American co-researcher James Watson famously celebrated their eureka moment in March 1953 by running from the now legendary Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge to the nearby Eagle pub, where they announced over pints of bitter that they had discovered the secret of life.
Crick, who died ten days ago, aged 88, later told a fellow scientist that he often used small doses of LSD then an experimental drug used in psychotherapy to boost his powers of thought. He said it was LSD, not the Eagle's warm beer, that helped him to unravel the structure of DNA, the discovery that won him the Nobel Prize.
Which brings up some news about current research on LSD.
LSD, the drug that launched the psychedelic era and became one of the resounding symbols of the counterculture movement of the '60s, is back in the labs.Because of the widespread use of the drug in the 60s by the counterculture we have lost 40 years of research on the drug. That is unfortunate. But it is being reversed.
Nearly 40 years after widespread fear over recreational abuse of LSD and other hallucinogens forced dozens of scientists to abandon their work, researchers at a handful of major institutions - including UCSF and Harvard University - are reigniting studies. Scientists started looking at less controversial drugs, like ecstasy and magic mushrooms, in the late 1990s, but LSD studies only began about a year ago and are still rare.
The study at UCSF, which is being run by a UC Berkeley graduate student, is looking into the mechanisms of LSD and how it works in the brain. The hope is that such research might support further studies into medical applications of LSD - for chronic headaches, for example - or psychiatric uses.
"Psychedelics are in labs all over the world and there's a lot of promise," said Rick Doblin, director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in Santa Cruz. "The situation with LSD is that because it was the quintessential symbol of the '60s, it was the last to enter the lab."
As the video points out LSD temporarily reduces or eliminates the filters experience has encoded into the brain. In other words you experience the world the way a newborn does. With all the tools developed for studying the brain since LSD was invented scientists should be able to learn a lot about how the brain functions. It may even help to understand schizophrenia which some scientists think is caused by a lack of filters in the brain of the afflicted. It is really too bad that we have let these studies go for so long. It is fortunate that they are resuming.
Drug prohibition has cost us a lot. Fortunately we are slowly getting over it. The sooner the better.
You might like to read Albert Hoffman's book on his discovery of LSD:
LSD: My Problem Child: Reflections on Sacred Drugs, Mysticism, and Science
The discovery of DNA is not the only connection DNA and LSD have. There is also Kerry Mullis' discovery of the Polymerase Chain Reaction for replicating short strands of DNA which is used for all kinds of work on DNA including forensics.
Kerry has written a book on his work with DNA and the influence of LSD on his life:
Dancing Naked in the Mind Field
H/T Drug Policy Forum of Texas
Cross Posted at Classical Values