Tuesday, January 09, 2018

The Google Doodle Lotuslandian Double Rainbow.

The image above was on Google's front page today, Jan 9th, 2018. It depicts Gobind Khorana and the genetic code that Khorana helped decipher which led to his sharing in the Nobel prize for medicine in 1968.

Khorana grew up in India, earned his PhD in Britain, completed a post-doc in Switzerland, and did the great majority of the work that cracked the code in the U.S.

But, for a time, during the 1950's Khorana worked in Vancouver on the chemistry of nucleic acids which form the building blocks of the code.

And a young post-doc who worked with him at that time was a fellow named Michael Smith.

Smith, of course, is the guy who won the Nobel prize a generation later for work he did right here in Lotusland wherein he figured out a way to change the genetic code - one of the first examples of gene editing which is all the rage all over again at the moment.

Imagine that!



Kim said...

Wow! Imagine! We are surrounded by a stable of genius. Who knew?

You did, of course.

Thanks Ross K.

RossK said...

Actually, a young undergraduate student told me about it awhile back so I went and looked it up.

And then, today, this popped up.

It's a crazy mixed-up world we live in Kim.


Scotty on Denman said...

No expert am I, that’s for sure!

Forgive my ignorance, but when you say “change the genetic code,” is it related or equivalent—I guess in fact and/or importance—to the successful replication of an organism with two man-made bases(?)—or is it two new base-pairs?

Anyways, thnx for this: very interesting!

RossK said...

Smith's achievement was a different deal Scotty.

He figured out a way to change the sequence of DNA at specific sites (i.e within individual, targeted genes which he called 'site-directed mutagenesis). His method works in a test tube. So what the gene jockeys did throughout the 80's through the 00's was modify a gene in a test tube and then give it to people like me who would stick the modified genes back into cells to figure out what the modifications do to the function of the gene product (i.e. the protein that is coded by the gene - it was this code going from DNA to RNA to protein that Khorana helped figure out earlier)...The more recent big advance in gene modification ('editing') uses a technology called CRISPR that makes it quite easy to do the gene modifications directly in cells (i.e. you cut out the middle man).

Scotty on Denman said...

Thnx, Ross.

Prob’ly asking a lot, but maybe one day you could tell us what you think of CRISPR. Is it good? Is it dangerous?...that sort of thing.

Thnx again.

e. a. f. said...

truly amazing! thanks for the history. Its why having people from other countries living in your country is so important.

cfvua said...

Very interesting and thanks for telling us the story. And please keep up your always excellent work here and at your real job.

Keith. said...

Speaking of local genius, apologies for being off topic, but here's a summation of Site C. from Dermod Travis.