Joshua Lederberg

Facts

Joshua Lederberg

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Joshua Lederberg

Born: 23 May 1925, Montclair, NJ, USA

Died: 2 February 2008, New York, NY, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA

Prize motivation: "for his discoveries concerning genetic recombination and the organization of the genetic material of bacteria."

Prize share: 1/2

Work

It was long thought that bacteria multiply by dividing, so that all bacteria have the same genetic make-up. Joshua Lederberg and Edward Tatum demonstrated in 1946 that bacteria's genes can also change in a way similar to that of sexual reproduction seen in more complex organisms. Bacteria can go through a phase in which two bacteria exchange genetic material with one another by passing pieces of DNA across a bridge-like connection. Joshua Lederberg also proved the phenomenon known as transduction, in which DNA is transferred between bacteria via bacteriophages.

To cite this section
MLA style: Joshua Lederberg – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2018. Tue. 16 Oct 2018. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/1958/lederberg/facts/>

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