Talk:Margaret Oakley Dayhoff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


There's a great picture of Dr. Oakley Dayhoff here -- would anyone be interested in contacting the owner (Ruth Dayhoff) for permission to use?--Marysunshine 19:46, 23 May 2006 (UTC)


I removed these sentences:

Even in this early work, she had accomplished what is still a goal in bioinformatics applications,
namely, making computer calculations iterative. Since this was in the late 1940s, just before the
appearance of programmable computers, no single computer could handle so many repeated operations,
and Dayhoff had to manually carry punch cards from one computer to the next.

It just doesn't make sense saying that the "goal in bioinformatic applications, ..., is making calculations iterative."

Maybe the original author had some intended meaning or information about it, but it is not obvious what that would be. / 10:31, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Picture and Dayhoff sequence work[edit]

A few comments:

  • The picture of Margaret Dayhoff from Ruth Dayhoff's site is a good one. I've got a better version of it, sent me by (Margaret's husband) Ed Dayhoff to use (with permission) in my book. Can supply it if someone gets permission from Ruth Dayhoff or Ed Dayhoff.
  • The date of the picture seems to be late 1960s, not the date given in Ruth Dayhoff's site (I recall Ed Dayhoff as saying that it was 1966). I met Margaret in the early 1980s a year or two before she died, and she didn't look that thin. She seemed to be a very nice person, BTW.
  • I am not sure why the wording about "small divergences in sequence homologies". The Dayhoff PAM matrices are computed from pairs of protein sequences that are close. But is the "small" just referring to not so big as to destroy our ability to align the sequences? Or to the PAM procedure? Why not put the PAM stuff later, after starting to discuss Margaret's work?
  • Some of her achievments that should be mentioned: pioneering protein databases (is there), taking an evolutionary approach to these databases, pioneering in recognizing gene families, and doing (with Richard Eck) the first molecular sequence phylogeny found computationally (being also the first to use a parsimony method on molecular sequences), inventing the PAM model of protein sequence change, the first stochastic model of protein evolution (and it preceded the Jukes-Cantor model too). Felsenst 05:38, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
    • This article is definately a work in progress, please feel free to make any corrections and additions that you think are necessary.--Peta 23:16, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

Also: I don't dare change this amazing phrase: "... Margaret Dayhoff was perspicacious enough to anticipate the potential pertinence of computers to the current theories of Zuckerkandl & Pauling and the method which Sanger had engineered." which is a classic of tongue-twisting tangled thinking. (But perhaps its author might want to reconsider it). Felsenst 14:40, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Cspenser has made a start at correcting this sentence. But I am still not sure what it means to "anticipate the potential" of computer "to" something. If you are the first to use computers on them you are not "anticipating" their use, you are doing it. "Potential to" means nothing unless there is a verb about doing. I think that the "method which Sanger had engineered" is just another way of saying sequencing of proteins. Felsenst 20:22, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
    • I have finally lost patience and replaced all the tongue-twisting confusion by a something more straightforward. Felsenst (talk) 00:24, 6 October 2016 (UTC)


I've contacted Ruth Dayhoff to request image permission. Cariaso (talk) 14:47, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

no response. Cariaso (talk) 18:01, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Odd digression[edit]

For some reason the nearly-last part of the Research section is this: "Frederick Sanger's determination of the first complete amino acid sequence of a protein (insulin) in 1955, led a number of researchers to sequence various proteins from different species. In the early 1960s, a theory was developed that small differences between homologous protein sequences (sequences with a high likelihood of common ancestry) could indicate the process and rate of evolutionary change on the molecular level. The notion that such molecular analysis could help scientists decode evolutionary patterns in organisms was formalized in the published papers of Emile Zuckerkandl and Linus Pauling in 1962 and 1965."

It's nice to hear about this but where is Margaret Dayhoff in all this? In fact, as noted earlier in the article, she and Richard Eck were first to use computers to infer a phylogeny from molecular data. But why we need this history from Sanger to Pauling and Zuckekandl is not obvious, nor why this background to her work should be the last thing in the Research section of the Dayhoff article. Felsenst (talk) 14:18, 10 September 2017 (UTC)