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Smith, Hamilton (Othanel)

enzymes restriction dna obtained

(1931– ) US molecular biologist: isolated and studied restriction enzymes.

Smith graduated in mathematics in 1952, and in medicine in 1956 at Johns Hopkins University, where in 1973 he became professor of microbiology. In the early 1970s he obtained an enzyme from the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae (the strain later known as Hind II) that cleaved DNA at specific sites in relation to the sequence of bases. An early example of such a restriction enzyme had been obtained in the 1960s from Escherichia coli by W Arber (1929– ), and Smith confirmed and amplified this work before extending it to Hind II. By the later 1970s Smith and other workers, especially D Nathans (1928– ) (who collaborated with Smith in some of the research) had isolated many such enzymes. By allowing the controlled splitting of genes to give genetically active fragments, the restriction enzymes allowed the possibility of genetic engineering and of DNA sequencing to be developed. Smith, Arber and Nathans shared a Nobel Prize in 1978.

Smith, Jack - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Chronology: Jack Smith, Social and Economic Impact [next] [back] Smith, Frederick - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Chronology: Frederick Smith, Social and Economic Impact

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