British biochemist Frederick Sanger, the “father of genomics” who won two Nobel prizes, has died aged 95, the Cambridge research institute that bears his name announced Wednesday.
“Sad news: Fred Sanger, after whom we’re named, has died. The legacy of this modest man is transforming medicine,” said a statement from the Sanger Institute, which played a major part in the multi-national Human Genome Project (HGP).
Sanger is one of just four people to have been awarded two Nobel Prizes, receiving his first for chemistry in 1958 for his work on the structure of proteins, especially that of insulin.
He shared his second in 1980 with Paul Berg and Walter Gilbert for his work developing a pioneering technique used to determine the order of building blocks of DNA, known as sequencing.
“Sanger sequencing” allowed long stretches of DNA to be rapidly and accurately sequenced and was central to HGP’s huge task of mapping more than three billion units of human DNA.
“Fred Sanger would doubtless disagree but, if anyone is the father of genomics it is this quiet, determined, modest man of strong opinions,” the institute said on its website.
“He and his colleagues developed methods of DNA sequencing, in the 1970s, that are still used in genomic biology to this day.”