(born May 23, 1925, Montclair, N.J., U.S.—died Feb. 2, 2008, New York, N.Y.) U.S. geneticist. He earned a Ph.D. (1948) at Yale University. With his student Norton Zinder, Lederberg discovered that certain viruses are 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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