Frederick Sanger

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Frederick Sanger (born at 13th August 1918) is a British biochemist and arguably one of the most important biochemists [1]. His notable works were the sequencing of amino acid and DNA. The two groundbreaking works were awarded The Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1958 and 1980 respectively, making him the only man to win two Chemistry prizes to date and one of the four persons to win two Nobel Prizes [2]

Nobel Prize 1958 (Sequencing of bovine insulin)

His first Nobel Prize came in 1958, for "his work on the structure of proteins, especially that of insulin[3].

He started to work on protein structure in 1943, determining to decode the sequence of protein. Finally, he was able to sequence two polypeptides that constitute bovine insulin in 1951. By completing this finding, Sanger concluded that every protein has especially defined amino acid sequence [4].

Nobel Prize 1980 (Sequencing of DNA)

His second Nobel Prize came in 1980, this time jointly awarded to Paul Berg and Walter Gilbert, "for their contributions concerning the determination of base sequences in nucleic acid[5].

Sanger devised a way to determine the sequence of a nucleotide sequence, by his method called "Sanger Dideoxy DNA Sequencing".  The method is to use 2', 3' dideoxy analogue (ddNTPs) that has no 3' OH, which results in the earlier stoppage of DNA elongation by DNA Polymerase enzyme. After that, he could determine the sequence further by using gel electrophoresis [6].

Again, his work helps to give us idea on sequencing specific nucleotide sequences [7].


  1. The biography of Frederick Sanger
  2. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  3. Nobel Laurate in Chemistry in 1958
  4. Sanger F. (1958), "The Chemistry of Insulin." Nobel Prize Lecture
  5. Nobel Laurates in Chemistry in 1980
  6. Berg J., Tymoczko J and Stryer L. (2012: 149-150) Biochemistry, 7th edition, New York: WH Freeman
  7. Sanger F. (1980) "Determination of Nucleotide Sequences in DNA" Nobel Prize Lecture

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