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Har Gobind Khorana

November 13, 2011

Har Gobind Khorana

Har Gobind Khorana

Pioneering Indian American biochemist Har Gobind Khorana, who won the 1968 Nobel Prize for Medicine, died of natural causes in Concord, Massachusetts.
Khorana, 89, who was MIT’s Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Biology and Chemistry emeritus, died earlier this week.

He won the Nobel Prize in 1968, sharing it with two others, for unravelling the nucleotide sequence of RNA and deciphering the genetic code. He was then with the University of Wisconsin (UW). He is survived by his daughter, Julia, and son, Dave.
Born in 1922, in a small village called Raipur in Punjab, which is now in Pakistan, Khorana is known as a scientist who revolutionised biochemistry with his pioneering work in DNA chemistry.
“The work that he did in Wisconsin from 1960 to 1970 continues to propel new scientific discoveries and major advances,” said Aseem Ansari, professor of biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where Khorana taught and did research from 1960 to 1970 before moving to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
It was at Wisconsin that Khorana along with his colleagues worked out mechanisms of RNA codes for the synthesis of proteins, which won him the Nobel Prize.
He shared the prize with Robert Holley of Cornell University and Marshall Nirenberg of the National Institutes of Health.
Khorana was among the pioneers of the now-familiar series of three-nucleotide codons that signal to the cell which amino acids to use in building proteins — for example, uracil-cytosine-uracil, or UCU, codes for the amino acid serine, while CUC codes for leucine, MIT said in a statement.
“Gobind was a brilliant, path-breaking scientist, a wise and considerate colleague, and a dear friend to many of us at MIT,” said Chris Kaiser, MacVicar professor of biology and head of the department of biology, in an email announcing the news.
In a statement released by MIT, Khorana’s daughter, Julia Khorana, said her father loved mentoring young scientists.
“Even while doing all this research, he was always really interested in education, in students and young people,” Julia Khorana said.

Source :- The Asian Age


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