Sydney Brenner has Died

  • News
  • Thread starter BillTre
  • Start date
  • #1
BillTre
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2020 Award
1,653
3,842
Pioneering biologist Sydney Brenner has died at age 92.
He was involved in determining the genetic code (which tri-base nucleotide codons encode which amino acid).

He was also (and more interesting to me) involved in developing Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organisms for research. This was one of the first organisms developed as a model organism from the ground up.

Unlike model organisms for particular medical conditions, there are a limited number of multicellular generalized research model organisms (mice, Drosophila, zebrafish, Arabidopsis). These organisms can be more powerfully studied by combining genetic, morphology/development, behavior, and biochemical techniques in single experiments. This allows variables like genetic composition to be easily controlled (siblings of a true breeding genetic line) while determining how, for example, a particular developmental trait is affected by changing its cellular neighbors.

Different research organisms can combine these features in varying degrees, as well as varying in their relatedness to humans and therefore are used for different research purposes. They are often small, structurally simple, visually clear, and easy to care for. For an organism to be an important research model requires that reagents and efficient research techniques are also available. C. elegans is at the extremely small and simple end of this spectrum.
Brenner development of C. Elegans as a researh organism has lead to many break throughs, like:
  • Serial EM sectioning of whole worms and counting all of their cells.
  • Structurally identifying all of the worms neurons (302 neuorns in the hermaphrodite) and their interconnections (synapses).
  • Since all C. elegans of a given sex have the same number of cells (with the same set of cell identities), the mostly invariant cellular lineage that produces the cells in development has been determined and well studied.
  • These studies revealed the existence of programmed cell death in development.
  • The worm's small genome was also one of the first metazoan genomes sequenced.
 
  • Like
  • Informative
Likes davenn, berkeman, Klystron and 2 others

Answers and Replies

  • #2
18,353
8,140
RIP, thanks for the notice!
 

Related Threads on Sydney Brenner has Died

  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
241
  • Last Post
2
Replies
25
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
796
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
1K
Top