With its doodle today, Google is spotlighting Har Gobind Khorana, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1968 for his work on the genetic code, Vox reports.
Khorana, then at University of Wisconsin, Madison, shared the Nobel with Cornell University's Robert Holley and National Institutes of Health's Marshall Nirenberg "for their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis." Vox notes that the three independently worked on the central dogma of molecular biology.
Building on Nirenberg's finding that the RNA UUU triplet always encoded a phenylalanine amino acid residue, Khorana found that triplets CUC and UCU of the oligonucleotide CUCUCU respectively encoded leucine and serine, as Cell noted in its 2011 obituary for Khorana. This then led to what Vox calls the "Rosetta Stone" of genetics.
Khorana was born in a small village in what is now Pakistan and started his education at a village school that met under a tree, according to Vox. He then was awarded a scholarship to attend Punjab University and then received a doctorate from the University of Liverpool, it adds.
While Khorana didn't know his exact birthdate, he suspected it to be January 9th and today would have been his 96th birthday. He died in 2011 at the age of 89.