Fred Sanger


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Fred Sanger(born 1918), is an English biochemist, the winner of two Nobel prizes in Chemistry. He is the founder of Genomics and Proteomics fields.

Sanger was educated at Bryanston School and then did his B.A. in Natural Sciences at St. John's College, Cambridge University. He originally intended to study Medicine, but became interested in biochemistry as some of the leading biochemists in the world were at Cambridge at the time. He obtained his PhD in 1943.

Sanger determined the complete amino acid sequence of insulin. In doing so, he proved that proteins have specific structures. He began by degrading insulin into short fragments by mixing the trypsin enzyme (which splits protein) with an insulin solution. He then applied a spot of the mixture to a sheet of filter paper. He passed a solvent through the filter paper in one direction, and passed an electric current through the paper in the opposite direction. Depending on their solubility and electric charge, the different fragments of insulin moved to different positions on the paper, creating a distinct pattern. Sanger called these patterns �fingerprints�. Like human fingerprints, these patterns were characteristic for each protein, simple and reproducible. He reassembled the short fragments into longer sequences to deduce the complete structure of insulin. Sanger concluded that the protein insulin had a precise amino acid sequence. It was this achievement that earned him his first Nobel prize in Chemistry in 1958. He also did vital work in sequencing DNA by the dideoxy method. This has been of key importance in such projects as the Human Genome Project and earned him his second Nobel Prize in 1980.

Sanger effectively founded Genomics field when he first sequenced phi-X 174 virus.

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