Joshua Lederberg

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Lederberg, Joshua

(lā`dərbûrg'), 1925–2008, American geneticist, b. Montclair, N.J., grad. Columbia, 1944, Ph.D. Yale, 1948. He is known for his studies of the genetic mechanisms of bacteria. He shared with G. W. BeadleBeadle, George Wells,
1903–89, American geneticist, b. Wahoo, Nebr., grad. Univ. of Nebraska (B.S., 1926; M.S., 1927), Ph.D. Cornell, 1931. Beadle taught (1931–36) biology at the California Institute of Technology, where he also began genetic research on the fruit
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 and E. L. TatumTatum, Edward Lawrie,
1909–75, American geneticist, b. Boulder, Colo., grad. Univ. of Wisconsin (B.A., 1931; M.S., 1932; Ph.D., 1935). From 1937 to 1945 he taught at Stanford and from 1945 to 1948 at Yale.
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 the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for establishing that sexual recombination occurs in bacteria. Lederberg showed that although bacteria reproduce only by dividing, they are able to effect sexual recombination by processes that result in exchange of genetic material between different bacteria. A pioneer in the fields of bacterial genetics, microbiology, and molecular biology, he taught at the Univ. of Wisconsin (1947–59) and Stanford Univ. (1959–78) and joined Rockefeller Univ. in 1978 as its president, serving until 1990.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lederberg, Joshua


Born May 23, 1925, in Montclair, N.J., USA. American geneticist and biochemist.

Lederberg graduated from Columbia University in 1944 and continued his education at Yale University, where he received the doctor of philosophy degree in 1947. From 1947 to 1958 he was at the University of Wisconsin. Since 1959 he has been a professor at the Medical School of Stanford University in Palo Alto and head of its Laboratory for Molecular Medicine and simultaneously (since 1962) professor at the University of California at Berkeley. He discovered the mechanism of genetic recombination in bacteria in 1947. Lederberg was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1958 together with G. Beadle and E. Tatum for research on the genetics of microorganisms.


“Bacterial Protoplasts Induced by Penicillin.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 1956, vol. 42, no. 9, pp. 574–77.
“Linear Inheritance in Transductional Clones.” Genetics, 1956, vol. 41, no. 6, pp. 845–71.
“Protoplasts and L-type Growth of Escherichia coli.” Journal of Bacteriology, 1958, vol. 75, no. 2, pp. 143–60. (With St. Clair.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Lederberg, Joshua

(1925–  ) geneticist; born in Montclair, N.J. He joined the University of Wisconsin (1947–58), moved to Stanford (1959–78), then became president of Rockefeller University (1978–90), where he remained as a professor. He shared one-half the 1958 Nobel Prize in physiology for his work as Edward Tatum's graduate student at Yale (1944–47), where he discovered that bacteria can reproduce sexually, and for his subsequent contributions to the science of bacterial genetics. His discovery of transduction in bacterial genes engendered the possibility of genetic engineering. He was a consultant for the U.S. space program, and wrote extensively on evolution and the future of humanity.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.