A Short Tribute to Frederick Sanger – Genome Man

A photographic portrait of Frederick Sanger.Have you even heard his name before?  Frederick Sanger?

Dr Frederick Sanger, the British biochemist who is considered to be the “Father of Genomics“, died yesterday, aged 95. 

You may never have heard his name, but…  In years to come, you are likely to experience the benefits of medicines and health therapies derived from the discoveries on the Human Genome that he spent his life to research.

Dr Frederick Sanger followed a career in biochemistry at the University of Cambridge.  He is a “real hero” of British science, “one of the greatest scientists of any generation”, as fellow researchers described him.  Sanger pioneered methods to determine the exact sequence of DNA building blocks or bases, and developed techniques to identify the structure of proteins.

Frederick Sanger won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.  Not once.  Twice!!  He is also the only scientist to have been awarded the Nobel prize for Chemistry twice.

Dr Sanger was able to determine which amino-acids, and in what order, were used to build the hormone insulin.  Together with his research group, he produced the first whole genome sequence, made up of over 5,000 pairs of bases, in a virus.  In 1980, he was awarded his second Nobel Prize for developing “Sanger sequencing”, a technical method still in use today.

His ground-breaking work laid the foundations of humanity’s ability to read and understand our own genetic code, revolutionised biology and opened up the fields of molecular biology, genetics and genomics.

Even today, Sanger’s advancements keep on contributing to transformative improvements in medicine and health care.

 

Watch an Interview with Dr Frederick Sanger:

 

Frederick Sanger, OM, CH, CBE, FRS, FAA (13 August 1918 – 19 November 2013)

British biochemist who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry twice.