Nathans Daniel
Country United States
Category Medicine
Year 1978

Nathans Daniel, 1928 - 1999, Year won 1978, a pioneer in genetic engineering..

Daniel Nathans was born in 1928 in the State of Delaware. He received his medical degree in 1959 from Washington University in St. Louis. In 1962, he joined the staff of Johns Hopkins University, where he became head of the microbiology department in 1967.

Daniel Nathans, Werner Arber and Hamilton Smith were awarded the 1978 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for “the discovery of restriction enzymes” and their application to the study of genome structure and for purposes of genetic engineering.

Daniel Nathans was the first to apply these enzymes towards the study of gene organization and the sequence of genes in the chromosome. However, the biggest breakthrough in the application of restrictive enzymes was their use in isolating specific genes and linking them to a bacterial or viral DNA molecule, producing recombinant DNA.

This revolutionary procedure has made it possible to produce the large quantities of enzymes and hormones, like human insulin, that are needed for medical treatment. The basic fundamentals of this research were rapidly translated into many vital uses that had not even been imagined several years prior to Nathans’ work.

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