Feeds

back to article RIP Frederick Sanger: Brit bio-boffin who pioneered DNA sequencing dies

Famed British biochemist Frederick Sanger has died peacefully at a Cambridge hospital. He was 95. Sanger, a two-time Nobel laureate, was best known for his contributions to breakthroughs on research on the proteins that form DNA and the sequencing of genomes, the genetic information encoded in an organism's DNA. He also …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Bronze badge

HTML code for the link is broke.

0
0

RIP

Brilliant yet humble, if only we had more brits like this and less like Joey Essex...

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: RIP

Few words, much truth. Who is Joey Essex? Think I know what you mean.

2
0
Bronze badge
Pint

Some major corrections

Sanger's work impacted modern molecular biology from the 1950s through the end of the 20th century and beyond. Unlike most modern researchers who work on quite specialized topics, Sanger's main contributions came in allowing us to read out the sequences of both proteins and DNA, two of the main groups of molecules in our cells. Essentially, DNA is the "book" of life; its sequence contains the instructions for making the various proteins which form most of the cell's form and function. To be clear, protein and DNA are different substances; neither is a component of the other.

Before the mid-20th century, scientists only knew bulk information about proteins and DNA; it's analogous to cutting a book up into its constituent letters, then measuring the percentage of A's, B's, C's and so on. Clearly, this doesn't provide much insight into a book's meaning.

Similarly, protein and DNA information content (and resulting functionality) depends on the *linear order* of a limited choice of subcomponents. For proteins, there are 20 common amino acids strung together to form mammalian proteins, some as short as 5 or 10 amino acids, some containing hundreds; for DNA, there are 4 nucleotide bases strung together, with about 3 billion making up the complete genome (that is, all the genetic information in a cell).

Sanger's first Nobel Prize was for developing methods to sequence proteins; his second was for developing a method to sequence DNA. It is this latter advance which has transformed molecular biology and been a key enabler for modern genetic engineering, genomics, etc. He gave us the ability to "read" DNA and proteins; combined with the ability to "write" new DNA and proteins developed in the '80s and '90s, we have now moved from a solely descriptive era of biology to one that includes substantial modification and de novo construction as well -- biology is becoming engineering.

5
0

Good write up Mr. Nichols. Reckon we could tell his story on film, like Turin?

0
1
Gold badge
Unhappy

Sadly missed.

Few manage a single Nobel, he got 2.

It would seem in both cases his work was not the "State of the art," it was the Start of the art.

That puts him in the company of John Harrison and Frank Whittle.

1
0
Silver badge
Headmaster

Sanger was a truly great Briton. In view of this, and of the fact that the Sanger Centre is in Cambridgeshire, and spells its name correctly, why does the article say "in 1993 he would open a research center"?

I don't believe there have ever been any research centers [sic] near Cambridge. There used to be Build Center [sic] and Plumb Center [sic], but I'm glad to say they seem to have failed to prosper, and now have different names.

0
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

And now there are no living double Nobel Laureates

0
0

His brilliance was such that people take DNA sequencing methodology completely for granted now - and yet at the time it was completely revolutionary.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.