Lederberg, Joshua

Lederberg, Joshua

Lederberg, Joshua, 1925-2008, American geneticist, b. Montclair, N.J., grad. Columbia, 1944, Ph.D. Yale, 1948. He is known for his studies of the genetic mechanisms of bacteria. He shared with G. W. Beadle and E. L. Tatum the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for establishing that sexual recombination occurs in bacteria. Lederberg showed that although bacteria reproduce only by dividing, they are able to effect sexual recombination by processes that result in exchange of genetic material between different bacteria. A pioneer in the fields of bacterial genetics, microbiology, and molecular biology, he taught at the Univ. of Wisconsin (1947-59) and Stanford Univ. (1959-78) and joined Rockefeller Univ. in 1978 as its president, serving until 1990.

(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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