Nathans, Daniel

January 2009
World Book Science Dataset;1/1/2009, p1
Reference Entry
Nathans, Daniel (1928-1999), an American microbiologist, shared the 1978 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with his colleague Hamilton Othanel Smith and with Werner Arber of Switzerland. Nathans was awarded the prize for his analysis of DNA, using a restriction enzyme discovered by Smith as �biochemical scissors.� Restriction enzymes, whose existence was first predicted by Arber, provide the �chemical knives� to cut DNA into defined fragments. By making it possible to separate DNA into its component parts, Nathans's research opened up new paths for solving basic problems in developmental biology and for understanding, preventing, and treating birth defects, hereditary diseases, and cancer.


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