Khorana, Har Gobind


Har Gobind Khorana (1922, Raipur, British India – 2011, Concord, MA, USA) was an Indian‐American biochemist most well known for his contributions to the elucidation of the genetic code in the 1960s, which earned him a share in the 1968 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. Later on, Khorana's laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology worked on molecular membrane biology. Khorana's scientific life stands exemplarily for the increasing role of chemical strategies in the life sciences (nowadays epitomised in the fields of ‘chemical’ or ‘synthetic biology’), as well as for the internationalisation of science in the second half of the twentieth century.

Keywords: history of biochemistry; history of molecular biology; Nobel laureate; genetic code; membranes

Figure 1. Har Gobind Khorana (right) and co‐worker Susuma Nishimura in the laboratory at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1960s (figure number S10958). Reproduced with kind permission of the University of Wisconsin‐Madison Archives.

Further Reading

Kay LE (2000) Who Wrote the Book of Life? A History of the Genetic Code. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Khorana HG (1968) Nucleic acid synthesis in the study of the genetic code. Nobel Lecture Dec., 12th, 1968. In: Nobel Lectures, Physiology or Medicine 1963–1970, pp. 341–369. Amsterdam, UK: Elsevier.‐lecture.html.

Khorana HG (ed) (2000) Chemical Biology. Selected papers by Har Gobind Khorana with introductions. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.

Morange M (1998) A History of Molecular Biology. Cambridge, MA & London: Harvard University Press.

RajBhandary UL (2012) Har Gobind Khorana. Resonance 17 (12): 1125–1135.

Sakmar TP (2012) Har Gobind Khorana (1922–2011): pioneering spirit. PLoS Biology 10 (2): e1001273.

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Grote, Mathias(Apr 2015) Khorana, Har Gobind. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0002845]