Hypopituitary children throughout the world soon may have a better chance for normal growth, thanks to the synthesis of human somatotropin or growth hormone (HGH) by two groups of genetic engineers.
Almost simultaneously, the two groups—one headed by John D. Baxter, MD, and Howard Goodman, MD, at the University of California-San Francisco's Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the other directed by senior scientists David Goeddel, PhD, and Peter Seeburg, PhD, at Genentech, Inc, in South San Francisco—announced that they had produced HGH in bacterial cells using recombinant DNA technology. Each group believes its achievement is unique.
The Genentech group used synthetic DNA fragments provided by Keiichi Itakura, PhD, and associates of the City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, Calif. They joined the fragments enzymatically, forming a single DNA segment that contained the genetic code for approximately 12% of the HGH polypeptide.
Subsequently, they converted messenger RNA for HGH (extracted