Marsahll W. Nirenberg, a Nobel Prize-winning American biologist and geneticist, died in his Manhattan home this morning from Cancer.
Mr. Nirenberg will be forever remember as the man who cracked the human genetic code in 1961, for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1968. “In solving the genetic code, Dr. Nirenberg established the rules by which the genetic information in DNA is translated into proteins, the working parts of living cells. The code lies at the basis of life, and understanding it was a turning point in the history of biology. Dr. Nirenberg identified the particular codons — a codon is a sequence of three chemical units of DNA — that specify each of the 20 amino acid units of which protein molecules are constructed. The achievement, in a critical experiment in 1961, was the more remarkable because Dr. Nirenberg was only 34 at the time and unknown to the celebrated circle of biologists, led by Francis Crick, who had built the framework of molecular biology.”