Saturday, 27 April 2013

Bacteriologist Francois Jacob has died

Bacterial geneticist Francois Jacob died on April 19. Jacob worked with Jacque Monod and Andrew Lwoff on gene regulation, and the three scientists won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1965.

Jacob undertook work characterizing bacteriophages, viruses that seed DNA into bacterial genomes, where they can lie dormant for long periods before reactivating and killing the host cell. He also confirmed the existence and function of mRNA.

Jacob also worked on the Escherichia coli lac operon, which allows that bacterium to control how much lactose-digesting enzyme it makes by taking into account the amounts of lactose and glucose available. Through this work, Jacob and colleagues demonstrated how genes in a cell are turned off and on.

For more on his work, see the Los Angeles Times.
Posted by Tim Sandle