Biology Centre CAS will be visited by Erling Norrby, Swedish scientist and long-time member of the Nobel Committee
A Nobel Prize Perspective on the Nature of Genes
prof. Erling Norrby
When Mendel’s rules for inheritance were rediscovered in 1900 new concepts like gene and mutation were proposed. However it took into the 1940s until it was understood that genes could be examined as biochemical entities. Developments were facilitated by use of phages infecting bacteria. The major breakthrough in the early 1950s was the identification of the physical double-helix structure of DNA as the central genetic material. However the most important discovery was the insight that DNA, with its four nucleotides, could serve as a triplet code to determine the position of individual amino acids out of a total of 20 in a specific polypeptide chain. Developments of techniques to read and write the books of life have revolutionized modern biology.
Erling Norrby has an MD and PhD from the Karolinska Institute, the School of Medicine, Stockholm. He was the professor of virology and chairman at the Institute for 25 years. During that time he also served as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine for 6 years and was deeply involved in the work on Nobel prizes in physiology or medicine for 20 years. After leaving the Institute he became Permanent Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for six years. During this time he had overriding responsibility for the Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry and was a member of the Board of the Nobel Foundation.