Howard Temin, American virologist

Howard Temin, American virologist

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Credit: NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Howard Temin (1934-1994), American virologist and geneticist. While working with the Rous sarcoma virus Temin noted that the RNA (ribonucleic acid) virus was unable to infect cells that had had their synthesis of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) stopped. In 1964 he proposed that the viral RNA was translated into DNA, rather than directly to protein. This was controversial as it went against the central dogma of genetics that information flowed from DNA to RNA to protein. In 1970 Temin discovered the enzyme reverse transcriptase, which synthesises DNA from RNA, proving his hypothesis. Temin was awarded a share of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this discovery.

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