To create a small history of visual representations in biology, I am seeking the earliest published papers or books that have used plasmid maps as figures ; or strategies to effectively search for these publications.

I have examples like this one (from the 1977 publication presenting pBR322), but as it seems quite modern looking, it may be that earlier examples exist. enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ I spent an hour trying to follow this one up, without much sucess. My feeling is that, although there must be earlier figures, you are unlikely to find anything for plasmids before 1970, because the advent of restriction enzymes was an important tool in mapping them, because the idea of plasmids emerged only slowly, and because the plasmids from which pBR322 was derived were much larger and more complex. Sorry not to be more constructive. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 11:34
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your insight. I think I will follow the restriction enzyme lead, maybe show early restriction maps, then skip to "modern" plasmids. $\endgroup$
    – Eliane B.
    Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 11:55
  • $\begingroup$ I imagine you have already considered this, but the switch from genetic maps to physical maps might be worth looking at. There were clearly quite detailed (if incomplete) genetic maps of E. coli, and I remember in the early 70s that there were genetic maps of E.coli ribosomal RNA genes, that were partly physical, because the sizes of the precursors and mature species could be estimated by sucrose density gradient. The problem with the wild plasmids is that although you could say they contained, e.g. a drug-resistance gene, you couldn't easily map its position with respect to anything else. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 20:42


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