Har Gobind Khorana
Born: 9 January 1922, Raipur, India
Died: 9 November 2011, Concord, MA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA
Prize motivation: "for their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis"
Field: genetics, molecular biology
Prize share: 1/3
In the 1950s, it was established that genetic information is transferred from DNA to RNA, to protein. One sequence of three nucleotides in DNA corresponds to a certain amino acid within a protein. How could this genetic code be cracked? After Marshall Nirenberg discovered the first piece of the puzzle, the remainder of the code was gradually revealed in the years that followed. Har Gobind Khorana made important contributions to this field by building different RNA chains with the help of enzymes. Using these enzymes, he was able to produce proteins. The amino acid sequences of these proteins then solved the rest of the puzzle.