Holley, Robert William

Holley, Robert William,

1922–93, American biochemist, b. Urbana, Ill., Ph.D. Cornell, 1947. He was a professor at Cornell (1948–68) before he joined (1968) the Salk Institute, and he continued an association with Cornell after 1968. Holley received the 1968 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine jointly with Har Gobind KhoranaKhorana, Har Gobind,
1922–2011, American biochemist, b. Raipur (now in Pakistan), Ph.D. Univ. of Liverpool, 1948. He became a U.S. citizen in 1966, and was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1970 to 2007. Khorana, Marshall W.
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 and Marshall W. NirenbergNirenberg, Marshall Warren,
1927–2010, American biochemist, b. Brooklyn, N.Y., Ph.D., Univ. of Michigan, 1947. He spent his entire career as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health.
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 for their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis. Holley is credited with isolating transfer RNA (tRNA) and then determining the sequence and structure of alanine tRNA, which incorporates the amino acid alanine into proteins. Knowledge of the structure of tRNA was key to explaining how proteins are synthesized from messenger RNA.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Holley, Robert William


Born Jan. 28, 1922, in Urbana, 111. American biochemist.

Holley graduated from the University of Illinois in 1942. He has worked in various research centers of Cornell University, including V. du Vigneaud’s laboratory (1943–47), the New York State Agricultural Experimental Station (1948–57), the US Plant, Soil, and Nutrition Laboratory (1957–64), and the department of biochemistry and molecular biology (1965–66). Since 1966 he has worked at the Salk Institute. Holley’s primary work has dealt with decoding the structure of transfer RNA. In 1965 he determined the structure of the transfer RNA of alanine. He shared a Nobel Prize in 1968 with M. Nirenberg and H. G. Khorana.


Venkstern, T. V. Pervichnaia struktura transportnykh ribonukleinovykh kislot. Moscow, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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