HarGobind Khorana, 100th anniversary
HarGobind Khorana was born in Raipur village of Multan district of Pakistan. But later he became a citizen by the naturalization method of America. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in the year 1969.
His early work was related to chemistry. Later he started using the principles of chemistry to solve problems related to biology. Thus a new field of chemical biology was started.
- In 1968 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (jointly with Nirenberg and Holly). The award was given to him for his explanation of the genetic code and its functions in protein synthesis.
- He proved that the genetic code consists of different three letter words. These inform the cell where to start reading this code and where to stop.
- He created the world’s first artificial gene. This paved the way for further advances in genetic engineering and biotechnology.
- He investigated mutations in rhodopsin. These mutations are associated with Retinitis Pigmentosa. Retinitis causes night blindness.
- He also contributed to the science of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. It is used to trace the genetic material of a specific organism (such as a virus).
- The structure of transfer RNA or t-RNA was discovered. It is a small RNA molecule that participates in protein synthesis.
Source – The Hindu