Google Doodle celebrates Nobel laureate Har Gobind Khorana’s 96th birthday

Famous for constructing first synthetic gene, Har Gobind Khorana is recognised for his breakthroughs in science

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Search engine giant Google on Tuesday paid homage to Indian-American Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Har Gobind Khorana through a colourful doodle on his 96th birth anniversary.

Known for his comprehensive work on DNA and for constructing first synthetic gene, Khorana, along with two other scientists, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1968 for research on nucleotides and genes.

Born in 1922 in Raipur, now in Pakistan, Khorana, from an early age, was passionate about science which grew stronger with time as scholarships propelled the budding scientist through his scholastic journey.

Helped by the award of a Government of India Fellowship, Khorana moved to England in 1945 where he studied for a PhD degree at the University of Liverpool.

The scientist’s interest in proteins and nucleic acids took root while his stay in Cambridge from 1950 till 1952.

After moving to Vancouver in 1952, he started his research on DNA under Gordon M Shrum of University of British Columbia.

It was through his research at universities in England, Switzerland, Canada, and finally at the University of Wisconsin that he and two fellow researchers received the coveted Nobel Prize in 1968.

“Together, they discovered that the order of nucleotides in our DNA determines which amino acids are built.

These amino acids form proteins, which carry out essential cell functions,” Google said in a post.

After this achievement, fewer than five years later, he made a second breakthrough by constructing the first synthetic gene.

He received a host of awards during his lifetime, including the National Medal of Science and Padma Vibhushan.

The doodle, which celebrates Khorana’s pioneering work in understanding the human DNA, was drawn by Bangalore-based illustrator Rohan Dahotre.

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