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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Google doodle on Nobel laureate Har Gobind Khorana

Google doodles are interesting and make us learn lot of things ~ today’s (9th Jan) is another good one !

In the 1950s, it was established that genetic information is transferred from DNA to RNA, to protein. One sequence of three nucleotides in DNA corresponds to a certain amino acid within a protein. How could this genetic code be cracked? The doodle is all about the man of Indian origin who made important contributions to this field by building different RNA chains with the help of enzymes.

Har Gobind Khorana, the Nobel laureate was born this day in 1922 in Raipur and passed away on 9th Nov 2011 at Concord, USA.  He was affiliated to University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA at the time of award when he was awarded  "for their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis".  The famous biochemist shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Marshall W. Nirenberg and Robert W. Holley for research that showed how the order of nucleotides in nucleic acids.  Khorana and Nirenberg were also awarded the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University in the same year.

Khorana was born in Raipur,  youngest of five children of Ganpat Rai Khorana, a taxation clerk and Krishna Devi Khorana. He served on the faculty of the University of British Columbia from 1952-1960, where he initiated his Nobel Prize winning work. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1966, and subsequently received the National Medal of Science. He co-directed the Institute for Enzyme Research, became a professor of biochemistry in 1962 and was named Conrad A. Elvehjem Professor of Life Sciences at University of Wisconsin–Madison. He served as MIT's Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Biology and Chemistry, Emeritus and was a member of the Board of Scientific Governors at The Scripps Research Institute.

He attended D.A.V. High School in Multan;  Ratan Lal, one of his teachers, influenced him greatly during that period. Later, he studied at the Punjab University in Lahore where he obtained an M. Sc. degree. Mahan Singh, a great teacher and accurate experimentalist, was his supervisor. 

Khorana lived in India until 1945, when the award of a Government of India Fellowship made it possible for him to go to England and he studied for a Ph. D. degree at the University of Liverpool.

After going places, in 1960 Khorana moved to the Institute for Enzyme Research at the University of Wisconsin. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States. As of the fall of 1970 Khorana has been Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Biology and Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Raipur is a city in Raipur district, the erstwhile capital city of the state of Chhattisgarh. It was formerly a part of Madhya Pradesh before the state of Chhattisgarh was formed and this is not the place associated with Har Gobind. Raipur,  a village in the Kabirwala Tehsil of Khanewal District in Western Punjab earlier part of Multan Division is the one where the Nobel Laureate was born. Its capital is Khanewal the host city to the second-largest railway station in the country.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

9th Jan 2018

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