Sydney Brenner

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Brenner, Sydney,

1927–, British molecular biologist, Ph.D. Oxford, 1954. He was director of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England (1979–86), and director of the MRC Molecular Genetics Unit (1986–91) before joining (1996–) the Salk Institute, La Jolla, Calif., where he is currently distinguished research professor. With H. Robert HorvitzHorvitz, H. Robert
(Howard Robert Horivtz), 1947–, American geneticist, b. Chicago, Ill., Ph.D. Harvard, 1974. Horvitz has been a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1978.
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 and John E. SulstonSulston, Sir John Edward,
1942–, British molecular biologist, Ph.D. Cambridge, 1966. He was staff scientist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, from 1969 to 1992, when he became founding director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, also in
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, Brenner received the 2002 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for discoveries relating to the genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death. Brenner is credited with laying the foundation for the work by establishing the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism for genetic studies. The .04-in.-long (1-mm) worm has a short life cycle, allowing researchers to learn substantial information about organ development and cell death in a relatively short period of time, and it is transparent, enabling cell division to be observed directly under a microscope. Brenner demonstrated that a chemical compound could induce gene mutations in the nematode and that different mutations could be tied to specific genes.
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