Lederberg, Joshua


Lederberg, Joshua
born May 23, 1925, Montclair, N.J., U.S.

U.S. geneticist.

He earned his Ph.D. at Yale University. With his student Norton Zinder, Lederberg discovered that certain viruses were capable of carrying a bacterial gene from one bacterium to another, a discovery that made bacteria as important a tool of genetic research as Drosophila and the bread mold Neurospora. He also developed breeding techniques for bacterial genetics. In 1958 he shared the Nobel Prize with George Wells Beadle and Edward L. Tatum for discovery of the mechanisms of genetic recombination in bacteria.

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▪ 2009

      American geneticist

born May 23, 1925, Montclair, N.J.

died Feb. 2, 2008, New York, N.Y.
was a pioneer in the field of bacterial genetics and shared the 1958 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (with George W. Beadle and Edward L. Tatum) for discovering the mechanisms of genetic recombination in bacteria. Lederberg studied under Tatum at Yale (Ph.D., 1948) and taught at the University of Wisconsin (1947–59), where he established a department of medical genetics. In 1959 he joined the faculty of the Stanford Medical School, serving as director of the Kennedy Laboratories of Molecular Medicine there from 1962 to 1978, when he moved to New York City to become president of Rockefeller University. He held that post until 1990. With Tatum he published “Gene Recombination in Escherichia coli” (1946), in which he reported that the mixing of two different strains of a bacterium resulted in genetic recombination between them and thus to a new, crossbred strain of the bacterium. Scientists had previously thought that bacteria reproduced only asexually—i.e., by cells splitting in two; Lederberg and Tatum showed that they could also reproduce sexually and that bacterial genetic systems are similar to those of multicellular organisms. While biologists who had not previously believed that “sex” existed in bacteria such as E. coli were still confirming Lederberg's discovery, he and his student Norton D. Zinder reported another and equally surprising finding. In the paper “Genetic Exchange in Salmonella” (1952), they revealed that certain bacteriophages (bacteria-infecting viruses) are capable of carrying a bacterial gene from one bacterium to another, a phenomenon they termed transduction. Moreover, his discovery of transduction provided the first hint that genes could be inserted into cells.

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▪ American geneticist
born May 23, 1925, Montclair, N.J., U.S.
died Feb. 2, 2008, New York, N.Y.
 American geneticist, pioneer in the field of bacterial genetics, who shared the 1958 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (with George W. Beadle (Beadle, George Wells) and Edward L. Tatum (Tatum, Edward L.)) for discovering the mechanisms of genetic recombination in bacteria.

      Lederberg studied under Tatum at Yale (Ph.D., 1948) and taught at the University of Wisconsin (1947–59), where he established a department of medical genetics. In 1959 he joined the faculty of the Stanford Medical School, serving as director of the Kennedy Laboratories of Molecular Medicine there from 1962 to 1978, when he moved to New York City to become president of Rockefeller University. He held that post until 1990.

      With Tatum he published “Gene Recombination in Escherichia coli” (1946), in which he reported that the mixing of two different strains of a bacterium resulted in genetic recombination between them and thus to a new, crossbred strain of the bacterium. Scientists had previously thought that bacteria only reproduced asexually—i.e., by cells splitting in two; Lederberg and Tatum showed that they could also reproduce sexually, and that bacterial genetic systems are similar to those of multicellular organisms.

      While biologists who had not previously believed that “sex” existed in bacteria such as E. coli were still confirming Lederberg's discovery, he and his student Norton D. Zinder (Zinder, Norton David) reported another and equally surprising finding. In the paper “Genetic Exchange in Salmonella” (1952), they revealed that certain bacteriophages (bacteria-infecting viruses) were capable of carrying a bacterial gene from one bacterium to another, a phenomenon they termed transduction.

      Lederberg's discoveries greatly increased the utility of bacteria as a tool in genetics research, and it soon became as important as the fruit fly Drosophila and the bread mold Neurospora. Moreover, his discovery of transduction provided the first hint that genes could be inserted into cells. The realization that the genetic material of living things could be directly manipulated eventually bore fruit in the field of genetic engineering, or recombinant DNA technology.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • LEDERBERG, JOSHUA — (1925– ), U.S. geneticist. Born in Montclair, New Jersey and scion of a rabbinical family from Ereẓ Israel, he studied at Columbia University and then at Yale and made a number of important discoveries in microbial genetics. It had previously… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Lederberg , Joshua — (1925–) American geneticist Lederberg was born in Montclair, New Jersey, and educated at Columbia and Yale where he gained his PhD in 1948. He later held chairs of genetics at the University of Wisconsin, where he had taught since 1947, and at… …   Scientists

  • Lederberg, Joshua — (b. 1925)    US geneticist and Nobel laureate, 1958. In 1946 Lederberg and a colleague at Yale University discovered that certain bacteria were capable of sexual reproduction and therefore of genetic intermingling. This opened up a whole new… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Lederberg, Joshua — ► (n. 1925) Fisiólogo estadounidense. Fue premio Nobel de Medicina y Fisiología en 1958, compartido con G. W. Beadle y E. L. Tatum, por sus estudios sobre genética bacteriana. * * * (n. 23 may. 1925, Montclair, N.J., EE.UU.). Genetista… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Lederberg,Joshua — Led·er·berg (lĕdʹər bûrg , lāʹdər ), Joshua. Born 1925. American geneticist. He shared a 1958 Nobel Prize for work with genetic mechanisms. * * * …   Universalium

  • Lederberg, Joshua — (b. 1925)    American scientist. In 1947 he was appointed professor of genetics at the Universty of Wisconsin, and later at Stanford University. In 1961 he became director of the Kennedy Laboratories for Molecular Biology and Medicine. He and a… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Lederberg, Joshua —  (1925–) American biologist, awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1958 …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

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