Comptes Rendus Biologies : Jacques Monod, A theorist in the era of molecular biology / Un théoricien à l’ère de la biologie moléculaire
Fifty years ago, François Jacob, André Lwoff, and Jacques Monod received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine “for their discoveries concerning the genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis”. This distinction was awarded in recognition of an exceptional series of discoveries and theoretical achievements: existence, induction and genetics of lysogeny, notions and evidence of repressor, regulatory genes, messenger RNA, operon, operator and promoter sequences, and allostery. These discoveries involved many more people than the three laureates (especially Élie Wollman, François Gros, Jean-Pierre Changeux); they were also the occasion of a remarkable cooperation and interaction between them and other key figures in the history of molecular biology (especially, Max Perutz, Francis Crick, Sydney Brenner). Jacques Monod (1910–1976) played a central role in most of these achievements, except for lysogeny). This issue offers a portrait of Monod as a theorist whose contributions powerfully shaped the intellectual image of molecular biology.