Francois Jacob

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Jacob, François

(fräNswä` zhäkôb`), 1920–2013, French biologist and geneticist, educated at the Sorbonne. His medical studies were interrupted by World War II. He joined the Free French Forces and fought in Africa and during the liberation of Paris. In 1950 he joined the Pasteur Institute, becoming laboratory director in 1956 and head of the cell genetics department in 1960. In 1964 he became professor of cell genetics at the Collège de France. By studying the genetic basis of lysogeny (see bacteriophagebacteriophage
, virus that infects bacteria and sometimes destroys them by lysis, or dissolution of the cell. Bacteriophages, or phages, have a head composed of protein, an inner core of nucleic acid—either deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA)—and a
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), he and Elie Wollman discovered (1961) a new class of genetic elements, the episomes. Studies of the regulation of bacterial enzyme synthesis led Jacob and Jacques MonodMonod, Jacques
, 1910–76, French biologist, educated at the Univ. of Paris (D.Sc., 1941). He was a leader of the French resistance in World War II. He shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with André Lwoff and François Jacob for discoveries
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 to propose a mechanism for the regulation of the expression of genesgene,
the structural unit of inheritance in living organisms. A gene is, in essence, a segment of DNA that has a particular purpose, i.e., that codes for (contains the chemical information necessary for the creation of) a specific enzyme or other protein.
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(1961) and the concepts of messenger RNA (see nucleic acidnucleic acid,
any of a group of organic substances found in the chromosomes of living cells and viruses that play a central role in the storage and replication of hereditary information and in the expression of this information through protein synthesis.
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) and the operon. He and Monod shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with André LwoffLwoff, André
, 1902–94, French microbiologist, b. Ainay-le-Château, Allier dept., central France, of Russian-Polish origin. He was educated in France and in 1925 began a long association with the Pasteur Institute in Paris.
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 for their work in genetics. Jacob also did work on mechanisms involved in the growth and spread of cancer. His writings include The Logic of Life: A History of Heredity (1970, tr. 1976).


See his autobiography (1987, tr. 1988 by F. Philip).

Jacob, François


Born June 17, 1920, in Nancy. French biologist.

Jacob graduated from the medical department of the University of Paris. He became a doctor of medicine in 1947. From 1940 to 1944 he was a member of de Gaulle’s Free French forces; he was wounded and awarded the Order of Liberation. Jacob joined the Pasteur Institute in Paris in 1950. In 1960 he became head of the department of microbial genetics and in 1965 professor of the subdepartment of cellular genetics at the College de France. His works on the genetics of bacterial cells and viruses deal with genetic exchange between bacteria and phage, the genetics of lysogeny, the concept of episomes (1958), hypotheses (with J. Monod) on the transfer of genetic information with the participation of messenger RNA and on the mechanism of genetic regulation of protein synthesis in bacteria (the concept of operon). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1965 with A. Lwoff and J. Monod.


“Genetic Regulatory Mechanisms in the Synthesis of Proteins.” Journal of Molecular Biology, 1961, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 318–56. (With J. Monod.)
“Méchanismes biochimiques et génétiques de la régulation dans la cellule bactérienne.” Bulletin de la Société de Chimie Biologique,gique, 1964, vol. 46, no. 12, pp. 1499–1532. (With J. Monod.)
“Génétique de la cellule bactérienne.” In Les prix Nobel en 1965. Stockholm, 1966. Pages 212–32.
In Russian translation:
Pol i genetika bakterii. Moscow, 1962. (With E. Wolmann.)
References in periodicals archive ?
It is equally significant that the dual innovation in portrait art and genetic engineering occurred almost simultaneously, as in George Kubler's speculations concerning the "common instants of innovation," (111) or in Francois Jacob's observation quoted at the beginning of this essay.
(1.) Francois Jacob, La souris, la mouche et I'homme (Paris: Editions Odile Jacob, 1997) 174.
(2.) This is what Francois Jacob depicts as the "logic of the living," See Francois Jacob, La logique du vivant Une histoire de lheredite (Paris: Gallimard, 1971); English version, Francois Jacob, The Logic of Living Systems.
(35.) Francois Jacob (1920-2013), a prominent molecular biologist who received the Nobel Prize for medicine with Jacques Monod and Andre Lwoff in 1965 for his work on the transference of genetic information and the process of gene expression in bacteria and viruses, published, in 1970, his "archaeological" history of the life sciences (Jacob, LV).
(76.) See "The True and the Beautiful" in Francois Jacob, Die Maus, die Fliege und der Mensch.
Quant a la vieille analogie entre langue et genome, bien anterieure aux metaphores proposees par Schrodinger, elle s'est trouvee consolidee, au sein meme de la biologie moleculaire, apres que les phenomenes de traduction et de transcription eurent ete presentes, notamment dans les annees 1960 par les biologistes francais Francois Jacob, Jacques Monod et Andre Lwoff, comme des mecanismes mediateurs essentiels a l'activite des genes et des proteines (4).
Dans La logique du vivant : une histoire de l'heredite (1970), Francois Jacob evoque les quatre grandes secousses qui ont bouleverse la biologie au cours des 150 dernieres annees.
Par-dela ces quatre secousses, c'est neanmoins la continuite profonde de la theorie de l'heredite et du gene que Francois Jacob dit pouvoir retrouver, de Gregor J.
(4.) Francois Jacob, Jacques Monod et Andre Lwoff ont recu le prix Nobel de physiologie-medecine en 1965 pour leurs travaux sur les phenomenes de transcription et de traduction de I'ADN, notamment sur le role des ARN-messagers a travers lesquels les genes mettent en oeuvre leur programme dans les cellules.