Daniel Nathans

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Nathans, Daniel,

1928–99, American microbiologist, b. Wilmington, Del., M.D. Washington Univ., St. Louis, 1954. He became a professor at Johns Hopkins in 1962. Nathans worked with Werner ArberArber, Werner
, 1929–, Swiss microbiologist. A professor at the Univ. of Geneva (1960–70) and later at the Univ. of Basel (1971–), Arber worked with Daniel Nathans and Hamilton Othanel Smith to understand the nature of genes.
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 and Hamilton Othanel SmithSmith, Hamilton Othanel,
1931–, American biologist, b. New York City, M.D. Johns Hopkins, 1956. A professor at the Univ. of Michigan and Johns Hopkins, Smith worked with Daniel Nathans and Werner Arber studying the nature of genes.
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 in studying the nature of genes. The trio discovered and used biochemical "scalpels" called restriction enzymes that can cut genetic material into pieces for various studies and applications. The restriction enzyme technique, a fundamental tool in modern genetic research, helped create the biotechnology industry and provided the basis for the Human Genome ProjectHuman Genome Project,
international scientific effort to map all of the genes on the 23 pairs of human chromosomes and, to sequence the 3.1 billion DNA base pairs that make up the chromosomes (see nucleic acid).
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. For their work they received the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. In 1993, Nathans was awarded the highest scientific award of the United States, the National Medal of Science.
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Nathans, Daniel

(1928–  ) geneticist; born in Wilmington, Del. He was a clinical associate at the National Cancer Institute (1955–57), then a medical resident at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center (1957–59). He became a guest investigator at Rockefeller University (1959–62) before joining Johns Hopkins (1962). His studies using restriction enzymes led to the first genetic map of the DNA molecule and made possible the laboratory synthesis of microbial recombinant DNA. He was awarded one-third of the 1978 Nobel Prize in physiology for this pioneering research.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.