Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1975
Born: 7 March 1938, New York, NY, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning the interaction between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell."
Prize share: 1/3
After Renato Dulbecco discovered that tumor viruses operate by incorporating their DNA into the DNA of host cells, David Baltimore and Howard Temin - independently of one another - discovered that viruses with genomes consisting of RNA can also be inserted into host cells' DNA. This takes place through an enzyme known as "reverse transcriptase". The discovery that the information in RNA can be transferred to DNA meant that the generally accepted rule that genetic information was only transferred in one direction - from DNA to RNA, to protein - had to be modified.
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.