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|Birthday/Birthplace||(1944-12-28) December 28, 1944
Lenoir, North Carolina, United States
|College(s)||Georgia Institute of Technology (BS, 1966)
University of California, Berkeley (PhD, 1973)
|Credit for||Invention of polymerase chain reaction|
William Allan Award (1990)
|Thesis||Schizokinen: structure and synthetic work (1973)|
|Doctoral advisor||J.B. Neilands|
Kary Banks Mullis (born December 28, 1944) is an American biochemist, author and lecturer. In recognition of his improved polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique he shares the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Michael Smith and won the Japan Prize in the same year. The process was originally described by Kjell Kleppe and the 1968 Nobel Prize winner H. Gobind Khorana and allows the amplification of specific DNA sequences.The improvements made by Mullis allowed to convert PCR into a central technique in biochemistry and molecular biology, described by The New York Times as “highly original and significant, virtually dividing biology into two epochs before PCR and after PCR”
Mullis has defended the denial of AIDS and the denial of climate change, and is also known for his unorthodox views in the social sciences and astrology, all of which earned him criticism from The New York Times. .
Kary B Mullis’s Biography
He grew up in Columbia, South Carolina and graduated in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology. In 1966 he moved to California to study biochemistry, obtaining a doctorate in the specialty under the direction of J. B. Neilands at the University of Berkeley.
In 1972 he moved to Kansas following his wife, and got a job as a researcher in pediatric cardiology, acquiring training in biology. Broken his marriage, he returned to California, working for a time at the University of San Francisco, as a researcher in pharmaceutical chemistry, in the field of endorphins. In 1979 he was hired by the California company Cetus Corporation, where he worked with oligonucleotides (short DNA or RNA molecules).
In 1985, while still working at Cetus, he developed the technique of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), one of the central techniques in molecular biology, which allows the amplification of a specific region. of DNA using triphosphate nucleosides and a DNA polymerase. The idea of multiplying a strand of DNA millions of times came to him in 1983 but he did not convince his colleagues in the company, so he had to demonstrate for himself the applicability of the technique. The version of the technique initially developed by Mullis, although effective, was not very efficient, until it occurred to him to use thermostable DNA polymerases, extracted from thermophilic microorganisms, initially the polymerase called Taq, from Thermus aquaticus.
For this invention, of great value in biotechnology and as a scientific and forensic investigation tool, in 1993 he received the Japan Prize and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, shared with the Canadian Michael Smith. Cetus, the company of Mullis, gave him a reward of 10,000 dollars for the invention of the PCR and then sold the patent for 300,000,000 dollars to Roche Molecular Systems, a section of the important pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche.
PCR has been the basis of several revolutions in practical fields, such as the identification of the origin of blood or saliva samples (to which forensic science massively resorts), and the sequencing of human genes or other organisms. The genetic sequencing was until then a very complicated process, applicable only when many copies of the same DNA could be obtained naturally. The PCR turned into a routine the investigation of the genetic sequence, allowing the complete reading of the human genome, as well as of many organisms that are taken as models in the investigation of different biological problems. The technique has also allowed us to investigate phylogeny (evolutionary history) by comparing the genetic sequences of different strains, which in turn is the foundation of a world of scientific hypotheses of the greatest interest.
In a more anecdotal order of things, without the PCR the argument of the novel Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton would not make sense, taken to the cinema in 1993 under the direction of Steven Spielberg, where the genome of extinct animals is reconstructed. of minimal remains of his blood preserved in amber.
More Facts about Kary B Mullis
|Whole Name||Kary B. Mullis|
|Born/Where||Lenoir, North Carolina, USA|
|Born||December 28, 1944|
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