Altman, Sidney


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Altman, Sidney,

1939–, Canadian-American molecular biologist, b. Montreal, Ph.D., Univ. of Colorado, 1967. A professor at Yale Univ. since 1971, he discovered that RNA could function as enzymes; it was previously thought that enzymatic activity was only possible in protein molecules. His discovery has a potential use in fighting viral infections. For this work, Altman shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physics with Thomas CechCech, Thomas Robert
, 1947–, American microbiologist, b. Chicago, grad. Univ. of California, Berkeley. A professor at the Univ. of Colorado, he discovered that RNA could function as enzymes; it was previously thought that enzymatic activity was only possible in protein
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, who independently made the same discovery.

Altman, Sidney

(1939–  ) biochemist; born in Montreal, Canada. He became affiliated with Yale in 1971 and holds dual citizenship. He showed that the RNA molecule could rearrange itself, thereby altering the material it produces without requiring an enzyme. This was a major breakthrough in our understanding of genetic processes. He and Thomas Cech shared the Nobel Prize for chemistry (1989).