George Wells Beadle
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1958
Born: 22 October 1903, Wahoo, NE, USA
Died: 9 June 1989, Pomona, CA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their discovery that genes act by regulating definite chemical events."
Prize share: 1/4
Organisms' metabolism - the chemical processes within its cells - are regulated by substances called enzymes. George Beadle and Edward Tatum proved in 1941 that our genetic code, our genes, govern the formation of enzymes. They exposed a type of mold to x-rays, causing mutations, or changes in its genes. They later succeeded in proving that this led to definite changes in enzyme formation. The conclusion was that each enzyme corresponds to a particular gene.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.