Edward Lawrie Tatum
Born: 14 December 1909, Boulder, CO, USA
Died: 5 November 1975, New York, NY, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, New York, NY, 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. Edward Tatum and George Beadle 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.