Robert W. Holley


Robert W. Holley

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Robert W. Holley
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1968

Born: 28 January 1922, Urbana, IL, USA

Died: 11 February 1993, Los Gatos, CA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

Prize motivation: “for their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis”

Prize share: 1/3


In the 1950s, it was established that genetic information is transferred from DNA to RNA, to protein. A sequence of three nucleotides in DNA–known as a codon–corresponds to a particular amino acid in a protein. The proteins are formed in what are known as ribosomes, which lie outside the cell nucleus. The transportation of amino acids to these ribosomes takes place with the help of a particular kind of RNA called transfer RNA or tRNA. There exists a special tRNA molecule for each codon. Robert Holley was the first person to successfully isolate tRNA and, in 1964, was also able to map its structure.

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