Har Gobind Khorana

Har Gobind Khorana

name = Har Gobind Khorana

caption = Har Gobind Khorana
birth_date = birth date and age|1922|1|9
birth_place =Raipur, Multan, Punjab, British India
residence= U.S.
field = Molecular Biology
work_institution = MIT(1970 - )
University of Wisconsin, Madison(1960-70)
University of British Columbia(1952-60)
Cambridge University(1950-52)
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (1948-49)
alma_mater = University of Liverpool(Ph.D.)
University of the Punjab, Lahore(B.S.)(M.S.)
known_for = First to demonstrate the role of Nucleotides in protein synthesis
prizes = Nobel Prize in Medicine (1968)
religion= Hindu

Har Gobind Khorana, or Hargobind Khorana (born January 9, 1922) is an Indian-American molecular biologist. He was awarded the Nobel prize (shared with Robert W. Holley and Marshall Warren Nirenberg) in 1968 for his work on the interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis. Khorana and Nirenberg were also awarded the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University in the same year. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1966. He currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States serving as MIT's Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Biology and Chemistry, Emeritus.

Early life and Education

Khorana was born in Raipur, Kabir Wala, Multan, a poor village in British India which is in present Pakistan. His father was the village "patwari", or taxation official. He was homeschooled by his father, and he later attended D.A.V. Multan High School. He finished his B.Sc. from Punjab University, Lahore in 1943 and M.Sc from Punjab University in 1945. In 1945, he began studies at the University of Liverpool. After earning a PhD in 1948, he continued his postdoctoral studies in Zürich (1948-49). Subsequently, he spent two years at Cambridge and his interests in proteins and nucleic acids took root at that time. In 1952 he went to the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and in 1960 moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1970 Dr. Khorana became the Alfred Sloan Professor of Biology and Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he worked until retiring in 2007. He is a member of the Board of Scientific Governors at The Scripps Research Institute, and currently holds Professor Emeritus status at MIT.


Khorana married Esther Elizabeth Sibler, who is of Swiss origin, in 1952. They have three children: Julia Elizabeth (born May 4th, 1953), Emily Anne (born October 18th, 1954), and Dave Roy (born July 26th, 1958).

Khorana’s work & Nobel Prize

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) with two repeating units (UCUCUCUUCU CUC UCU) produced two alternating amino acids. This, combined with the Nirenberg and Leder experiment, showed that UCU codes for Serine and CUC codes for Leucine.

RNAs with three repeating units (UACUACUAUAC UAC UAC, or ACU ACU ACU, or CUA CUA CUA) produced three different strings of amino acids.

RNAs with four repeating units including UAG, UAA, or UGA, produced only dipeptides and tripeptides thus revealing that UAG, UAA and UGA are stop codons.

With this, Dr. Khorana and his team had established that the mother of all codes, the biological language common to all living organisms, is spelled out in three-letter words: each set of three nucleotides codes for a specific amino acid. Their Nobel lecture was delivered on December 12, 1968. Dr. Khorana was also the first to synthesize oligonucleotides, that is, strings of nucleotides. He was the first to isolate DNA ligase, an enzyme that links pieces of DNA together. These custom-designed pieces of artificial genes are widely used in biology labs for sequencing, cloning and engineering new plants and animals. This invention of Dr. Khorana has become automated and commercialized so that anyone now can order a synthetic gene from any of a number of companies-- one merely needs to fax the genetic sequence to one of the companies to receive an oligonucliotide with the desired sequence.


* Lasker Award, 1967
* Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize 1968
* Nobel Prize for Medicine 1968
* National Medal of Science 1987

External links

* [http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1968/khorana-bio.html Nobel biography]
* [http://web.mit.edu/chemistry/www/faculty/khorana.html Homepage] - MIT, where he works presently.
* [http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/horwitz/ The Official Site of Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize]

NAME= Khorana, Har Gobind
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Indian-American molecular biologist
DATE OF BIRTH= January 91922
PLACE OF BIRTH=Raipur,Punjab,British India

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  • Khorana,Har Gobind — Kho·ra·na (kō räʹnə), Har Gobind. Born 1922. Indian born American biochemist. He shared a 1968 Nobel Prize for the study of genetic codes. * * * …   Universalium

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  • Khorana , Har Gobind — (1922–1993) Indian–American chemist Khorana, who was born at Raipur (now in Pakistan), gained his BSc (1943) and MSc (1945) from the University of Punjab. He then traveled to Liverpool University to work for his doctorate. On receiving his PhD in …   Scientists

  • Khorana, Har Gobind — (n. 9 ene. 1922, Raipur, India). Bioquímico estadounidense nacido en India. Obtuvo su Ph.D. en la Universidad de Liverpool. Más tarde fue docente en Canadá y EE.UU., y desde 1970 en el MIT. En 1968 compartió el Premio Nobel con Marshall Warren… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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