Dayhoff, Margaret Oakley

Abstract

The American physical chemist Margaret Oakley Dayhoff was one of the major figures in the early history of bioinformatics. In 1965, she published the initial edition of the Atlas of Protein Sequence and Structure, the first comprehensive, computerised and publicly available collection of protein sequences. It became a model for many subsequent sequence databases, including GenBank. Dayhoff developed several methods to analyse protein sequences and infer their evolutionary relationships, as well as computer models to simulate the composition of planetary atmospheres.

Key Concepts:

  • Margaret O. Dayhoff was one of the founders in the field of bioinformatics.

  • Margaret O. Dayhoff created the first public comprehensive, computerised and publicly available database of protein sequences, The Atlas of Protein Sequence and Structure (1965).

  • The Atlas of Protein Sequence and Structure was the model for GenBank and many other molecular databases.

  • The Atlas of Protein Sequence and Structure was a key tool for the development of molecular biology, molecular evolution and bioinformatics.

  • The Atlas of Protein Sequence and Structure was tremendously successful among researchers, yet they were sometimes reluctant to contribute their data.

Keywords: Bioinformatics; database; molecular biology; molecular evolution; biochemistry; computers; protein sequence

Figure 1.

Margaret O. Dayhoff (Photo by Ruth E. Dayhoff, MD; US National Library of Medicine).

Figure 2.

Cover of the first edition of the Atlas of Protein Sequences and Structures, 1965. Reproduced by permission from NBRF.

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References

Barker WC, Ketcham LK and Dayhoff MO (1978) A comprehensive examination of protein sequences for evidence of internal gene duplication. Journal of Molecular Evolution 10: 265–281.

Eck RV and Dayhoff MO (1966) Atlas of Protein Sequence and Structure. Silver Spring, MD: National Biomedical Research Foundation.

Hunt L (1984) Margaret Oakley Dayhoff, 1925–1983. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology 46: 467–472.

Schwartz RM and Dayhoff MO (1978) Origins of prokaryotes, eukaryotes, mitochondria, and chloroplasts. Science 199(4327): 395–403.

Strasser BJ (2010) Collecting, comparing, and computing sequences: the making of Margaret O. Dayhoff's Atlas of Protein Sequence and Structure, 1954–1965. Journal of the History of Biology 43: 623–660.

Strasser BJ (2011) The experimenter's museum: GenBank, natural history, and the moral economies of biomedicine. Isis 102: 60–96.

Further Reading

Felsenstein J (2004) Inferring Phylogenies. Sunderland, Mass: Sinauer Associates.

Hagen JB (2000) The origins of bioinformatics. Nature Reviews 1: 231–236.

November J (2012) Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

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How to Cite close
Strasser, Bruno J(Sep 2012) Dayhoff, Margaret Oakley. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0023939]