Friday, January 22, 2010

Marshall Nirenberg (April 10, 1927 – January 15, 2010)

Marshall Nirenberg passed away recently from cancer. Nirenberg is famous for "deciphering" the genetic code. I wrote a piece about him earlier in this blog. In the classic experiment with Heinrich Matthei, the duo showed that nucleic acid codon poly-uracil (UUU) coded for the amino acid phenylalanine.

According to a New York Times Obituary, Nirenberg was “enthusiastic and magnetic. He had an idea every two or three minutes."

NIH has an excellent exhibit on the genetic code discovery.

Nirenberg shared the 1968 Nobel Prize with Robert Holley and Gobind Khorana.

Nirenberg's collected papers can be found at the National Library of Medicine.

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