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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Dear Sir: Because of my friendship with the late Dr. Georges Ungar, I feel duty bound to correct the account of the "transfer paradigm" in Dr. Louis N. Irwin's award-winning paper, "Fulfillment and Frustration: The Confessions of a Behavioral Biochemist" [I]. Like Dr. Irwin, I too worked for some time with Dr. Ungar on transfer (at a later stage, I might add). Moreover, I have been working in the field since my colleagues and I published the first report of the phenomenon in mammals in 1965 [2]. With this background, I should like to offer the following criticisms. Dr. Irwin states that "by 1973 over 130 papers from at least 30 independent labs had appeared." This seems to indicate that Dr. Irwin stopped following the literature on transfer after 1973, a suggestion which appears to be confirmed by the curious fact that of the only 16 papers on transfer he cites (out ofa total of95 references) half are from 1966 or older and only one newer than 1970! Dr. Irwin must know, however, that Dr. Ungar and many others, including several newcomers to the field (e.g. [3-8]), have continued to explore the transfer phenomenon since then (which will be apparent to anybody going through the UCLA Brain Information Service Current Alerting Bulletins, "Memory and Learning"; it should therefore be unnecessary to cite all the papers here). Especially, one must wonder why Dr. Irwin has not mentioned the later work of our mutual friend, Dr. Ungar (e.g., [9]), which just before he passed away culminated in the isolation of two peptides capable of inducing blue avoidance and green avoidance in goldfish [10]. Similarly, in the discussion of the specificity of the transfer effect, only two papers are referred to (references 82 and 83) from 1967 and 1968, although, of course, diis aspect has been the subject of many later studies that have given far stronger indication of specificity, for example, the work of Domagk and Zippel on the transfer of colour and taste discrimination [11, 12] and of imprinting in fish [13], and the two-bar Skinner box studies of several authors, including myself (for a review see, e.g., [14]). That the connection between transfer and endorphins is only passed over lightly (although Dr. Ungar justly could have claimed to be the first to find an endogenous morphine-like factor in his experiments with transfer of morphine tolerance [15]) is perhaps also typical of Dr. Irwin's paper, which completely neglects to mention such relevant, related fields ofbehaviorally active peptides as Permission to reprint a letter printed in this section may be obtained only from the author. Perspectives in Biology andMedicine · Spring 1979 \ 461 the pituitary and hypothalamic peptide hormones and their fragments (reviewed in [16]), and even the sleep factor [17]. The effects of the latter is a clear-cut example that an acquired (if not learned) behavior can be transferred by injection of a neuropeptide. It is only too easy to reduce to the absurd any controversial line of research by selectively quoting a few papers, mostly more than 10 years old, the results of which even their authors would readily admit had been overtaken years ago by newer findings. Such is not the way ofobjective scientific discourse, however, and one is saddened to see it applied in an award-winning paper by a former coworker of Georges Ungar. REFERENCES 1.L. N. Irwin. Perspect. Biol. Med. 21:476, 1978. 2.E. J. Fjerdingstad, Th. Nissen, and H. H. R^igaard-Petersen. Scand. J. Psychol. 6:1, 1965. 3.U. Martin, H. Martin, and M. Lindauer. J. Comp. Psychol. 124:193, 1978. 4.B. E. Miller and G. L. Holt. J. Biol. Psychol. 19:1, 4, 1977. 5.F. Bianco, S. Biagini, and F. Federici. Boll. Soc. Ital. Biol. Sper. 52:1267, 1976. 6.H. Maldonado and A. Tablante. Physiol. Behav. 16:617, 1976. 7.J. C. Webster and K. A. Fox. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 2:209, 1974. 8.G.J. Radcliffe and J. W. Shelton. Experientia 30:1284, 1974. 9.G. Ungar, D. M. Desiderio, and W. Parr. Nature 238:198, 1972. 10.D. F. Tate, L. Galvan...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 461-463
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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