English biochemist who was twice the recipient of the Nobel Prize
for Chemistry. He was awarded the prize in 1958 for his determination
of the structure of the insulin molecule. He shared the prize (with
Paul Berg and Walter Gilbert of the United States) in 1980 for his determination
of the sequence of the nucleotides in the DNA of a virus. Sanger was
only the fourth person ever to be awarded the Nobel Prize twice.
Sanger subsequently turned his attention to determining the sequence
of nitrogenous bases in molecules of DNA and RNA. By 1977 he had elucidated
the sequences of nucleotides in the DNA molecule of a bacteriophage
(a virus that infects bacteria). This phage, phi-X 174, was the first
organism to have its entire nucleotide sequence determined. To achieve
this feat, Sanger again developed new laboratory techniques, this time
for splitting DNA into fragments whose base sequences can then be determined.
He was named a Companion of Honour in 1981 and was made a member of
the Order of Merit in 1986.
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