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Nobel laureate Har Gobind Khorana passes away

November 12, 2011 14:50 IST

Pioneering Indian American biochemist Har Gobind Khorana, who won the 1968 Nobel Prize for medicine, has died of natural causes in Concord, Massachusetts.

Khorana, 89, who was Massachusetts Institute of Technology '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.

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 from 1960 to 1970, before moving to 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.

Lalit K Jha In Washington
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