Jacques Monod


Jacques Monod
(1910 - 1976)



French biochemist who, with Francois Jacob, did much to elucidate the way in which genes regulate cell metabolism by directing the biosynthesis of enzymes. The pair shared, along with Andre Lwoff, the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1965.
In 1961 the two men proposed the existence of a messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), a substance whose base sequence is complementary to that of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in the cell. They postulated that the messenger carries the "information" encoded in the base sequence to ribosomes, the sites of protein synthesis; here the base sequence of the messenger RNA is translated into the amino acid sequence of a proteinaceous enzyme (biological catalyst).

In advancing the concept of gene complexes that they called operons, Jacob and Monod postulated the existence of a class of genes that regulate the function of other genes by affecting the synthesis of messenger RNA. For this work, which has been proven generally correct for bacteria, the two men were awarded a Nobel Prize.

Monod's book-length essay Le Hasard et la necessite (1970; Chance and Necessity) expressed his view that the origin of life and the process of evolution are the result of chance.



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