Daniel Nathans


Daniel Nathans

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Daniel Nathans
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1978

Born: 30 October 1928, Wilmington, DE, USA

Died: 16 November 1999, Baltimore, MD, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA

Prize motivation: “for the discovery of restriction enzymes and their application to problems of molecular genetics”

Prize share: 1/3


An organism's genome is stored in the form of long rows of building blocks, known as nucleotides, which form DNA molecules. Werner Arber discovered restriction enzymes, which cut DNA molecules at sites where a certain sequence of nucleotides occurs. Daniel Nathans applied this discovery within genetics. Among other applications, Nathans used different restriction enzymes on the DNA of the SV40 virus and studied its components, which allowed him to map the virus' genome.

To cite this section
MLA style: Daniel Nathans – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Sat. 13 Jul 2024. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/1978/nathans/facts/>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Eleven laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2023, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from effective mRNA vaccines and attosecond physics to fighting against the oppression of women.

See them all presented here.

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.