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Sydney Brenner

Sydney Brenner
South African biologist (originally chemist) Born on 13th January 1927, in Germiston, South Africa Extensive work in molecular biology Nobel Prize in 2002 EDUCATION: Medicine and Science, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa PhD in Physical Chemistry, Oxford University, England Postdoctoral fellow, Virus Laboratory of the University


1957- Triplets of nucleotide bases forming the genetic code do not overlap 1961- Along with Francis Crick reported- the code consist of base triplets that neither overlapped nor were separated by punctuation marks. 1961- Along with Francois Jacob, Jacques Monod , Matthew Meselson, introduced mRNA.

Disputed Recognition
Elliot "Ken" Volkin and Lazarus Astrachan's - Originally discovered mRNA called it "DNA-like-RNA"

Great Discovery Provoking Wrong Assumption

1964, Charles Yanofsky & Sydney Brenner proved colinearity in the order of codons with respect to amino acids in proteins 1967, Yanofsky and colleagues proved- the sequence of codons in a gene determines the sequence of amino acids in a protein As a result, it was incorrectly assumed that the triplets encoding for amino acid sequences form contiguous strips of information.


1963- Introduced Caenorhabditis elegans as model organism to study genetics and cell development. 1989- Chose yet another organism, Fugu rubripes, the Japanese puffer fish. 2002- The Noble Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discoveries concerning Genetic Regulation Of Organ Development And Programmed Cell Death

Sydney Brenner Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system

John Sulston Tracing cell lineage, apoptosis

Bob Horvitz Connection between worms & humans

C. Elegans Natures Gift

Small ( ~ 1 mm). Fast life cycle ~ adulthood in less than 24 hrs, live 3 weeks 959 somatic cells., 302 neurons Most adults are hermaphrodites. Genetic composition: Rare males: 5AA + XX

5AA + XO

Easy to handle in large quantities. Transparent

How do genes specify the structure of an organism?


First multicellular organism to have its DNA sequenced (1998). Only organism to survive Columbia shuttle crash (2003) Exhibit same symptoms as humans when quit alcohol consumption (2010)

Calorie restriction can help to fight gradual loss of memory with age (2012)

Brenner, S. The genetics of Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics 77, 7194, 1974. Sulston, J.E. and Brenner, S. The DNA of Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics 77, 95104, 1974. Aparicio S., Chapman J., Stupka E, Venkatesh B., Rokhsar D., Brenner S. Whole-genome shotgun assembly and analysis of the genome of Fugu rubripes. Science 297, 13011310 (2002). Natures Gift to Science Nobel Lecture, December 8, 2002 by Sydney Brenner