Nirenberg Marshall
Country United States
Category Medicine
Year 1968

Nirenberg Marshall, 1927 - 2010, Year won 1968, deciphered the genetic code of RNA..

Marshall Nirenberg was born in New-York in 1927. Because of his frail health, the family moved to Florida where as a young man, Nirenberg studied biology at the University of Florida. He received his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Michigan in 1957. From 1960, Nirenberg has been active at the National Institutes of Health.

In 1968, Marshall Nirenberg was awarded the Nobel prize for medicine and physiology “for his interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis”.

Nirenberg studied the assumption that RNA was responsible for construction of protein from amino acids, and, in a 1961 experiment on synthetic RNA, he succeeded in producing a specific protein. In the wake of this pioneering discovery, he found that the genetic code was based on four “building blocks” called nucleotides. These blocks combine in triplets to create a codon, that codes for a specific amino acid in the synthesis of the protein.

After much laborious work, Nirenberg succeeded in deciphering the codons describing all twenty amino acids, thus providing science with a new language for understanding the secrets of life.

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