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H. Gobind Khorana Dies

The New York Times reports that H. Gobind Khorana, the biochemist who shared the 1963 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for "the interpretation of the genetic code," has died. He was 89. Working independently, Khorana, Robert Holley, and Marshall Nirenberg were celebrated by the Nobel committee for their work "showing how genetic information is translated into proteins, which carry out the functions of a living cell," the Times reports, adding:

In 1972, Dr. Khorana reported a second breakthrough: the construction of the first artificial gene, using off-the-shelf chemicals. Four years later, he announced that he had gotten an artificial gene to function in a bacterial cell.

Khorana was also honored with a Lasker Award for basic medical research in 1968 and the National Medal of Science in 1987.

In addition, the Times says that Khorana's MIT lab "turned out leaders in academia and industry," including Michael Smith, "a recipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for devising a method of manipulating DNA."