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Encyclopedia > Kary Mullis

Kary Banks Mullis, Ph.D. (born December 28, 1944) is an American biochemist and Nobel laureate. is the 362nd day of the year (363rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Wöhler observes the synthesis of urea. ... The Nobel Prize (Swedish: ) was established in Alfred Nobels will in 1895, and it was first awarded in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace in 1901. ...

Dr Mullis was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993 for his development of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), a central technique in biochemistry and molecular biology which allows the amplification of specified DNA sequences. Dr Mullis subsequently was awarded the Japan Prize that same year. This is a list of Nobel Prize laureates in Chemistry from 1901 to 2006. ... “PCR” redirects here. ... Wöhler observes the synthesis of urea. ... Molecular biology is the study of biology at a molecular level. ... The structure of part of a DNA double helix Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is a nucleic acid molecule that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms. ... The Japan Prize is awarded to people from all parts of the world whose original and outstanding achievements in science and technology are recognized as having advanced the frontiers of knowledge and served the cause of peace and prosperity for mankind. ...


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Early life and education

Mullis was born in Lenoir, North Carolina, near the Blue Ridge Mountains,[1] on December 28, 1944. His family had a background in farming in the rural area, and as a child Mullis studied the diverse organisms of nearby farms.[2] He grew up in Columbia, South Carolina,[2] where he attended Dreher High School. Lenoir is a city located in Caldwell County, North Carolina. ... Blue Ridge Mountains, Shining Rock Wilderness Area Appalachian Mountain system The Blue Ridge is a mountain chain in the eastern United States, part of the Appalachian Mountains, forming their eastern front from Georgia to Pennsylvania. ... For other uses, see Columbia (disambiguation). ...

Mullis earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry[1] from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta in 1966 and received a PhD in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1973; his research focused on synthesis and structure of proteins.[2] Following his graduation, Mullis became a postdoctoral fellow in paediatric cardiology at the University of Kansas Medical School, going on to complete two years of postdoctoral work in pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco. B.S. redirects here. ... For other uses, see Chemistry (disambiguation). ... The Georgia Institute of Technology, commonly known as Georgia Tech, is a public, coeducational research university, part of the University System of Georgia, and located in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, with satellite campuses in Savannah, Georgia, Metz, France, Shanghai, China, and Singapore. ... This article is about the state capital of Georgia. ... PhD usually refers to the academic title Doctor of Philosophy PhD can also refer to the manga Phantasy Degree This is a disambiguation page — a list of pages that otherwise might share the same title. ... Sather Tower (the Campanile) looking out over the San Francisco Bay and Mount Tamalpais. ... A representation of the 3D structure of myoglobin showing coloured alpha helices. ... Cardiology is the branch of medicine pertaining to the heart. ... The University of Kansas (often referred to as KU or just Kansas) is an institution of higher learning in Lawrence, Kansas. ... Medicinal Chemistry is a scientific discipline at the intersection of chemistry and pharmacy involved with designing and developing pharmaceutical drugs. ... UCSF in 1908, with the streetcar that used to run on Parnassus Avenue The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is one of the worlds leading centers of health sciences research, patient care, and education. ...


In 1979, Mullis joined the biotechnology company Cetus Corporation of Emeryville, California,[2] where he worked as a DNA chemist for seven years. In 1983, while synthesizing oligonucleotides, Mullis invented the technique known as the polymerase chain reaction.[3] He then proceeded to Xytronyx Inc. in 1986, where he was appointed the director of molecular biology, before moving on to serve as a nucleic acid chemistry consultant for multiple corporations.[4] Cetus was a biotechnology company established in Berkeley, California in 1972. ... The city of Emeryville highlighted within Alameda County Emeryville is a small city located in Alameda County, California, in the United States. ... The structure of part of a DNA double helix Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is a nucleic acid molecule that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms. ... A chemist pours from a round-bottom flask. ... “PCR” redirects here. ...

In 1992, Mullis founded a business with the intent to sell pieces of jewelry containing the amplified DNA of famous people, such as musicians, to young people.[5]

PCR and other inventions

Main articles: Taq Polymerase and History of polymerase chain reaction

In 1983, Mullis was working for Cetus. That spring, while driving his scooter and not watching the lines on the highway,[6] Mullis conceived of the idea of using a pair of primers to bracket the desired sequence and copying it using DNA polymerase, but the polymerase was destroyed with each thermal cycle and had to be replaced. In 1986, he started to use Thermophilus aquaticus (Taq) DNA polymerase to amplify segments of DNA. The Taq polymerase was heat resistant and would only need to be added once, thus making the technique dramatically more affordable and subject to automation. This has created revolutions in biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, medicine and forensics. Taq polymerase (Taq Pol, or simply Taq) is a thermostable polymerase used in polymerase chain reaction to check for the presence or absence of a gene by amplifying a DNA fragment. ... 3D structure of the DNA-binding helix-hairpin-helix motifs in human DNA polymerase beta A DNA polymerase is an enzyme that assists in DNA replication. ... Wöhler observes the synthesis of urea. ... Molecular biology is the study of biology at a molecular level. ... This article is about the general scientific term. ... For the chemical substances known as medicines, see medication. ... The word forensic (from Latin: forensis - forum) refers to something of, pertaining to, or used in a court of law. ...

Mullis has also invented a UV-sensitive plastic that changes color in response to light, and most recently has been working on an approach for mobilizing the immune system to neutralize invading pathogens and toxins, leading to the formation of his current venture, Altermune LLC. This work is now being funded by DARPA. Mullis described this idea this way: For other uses, see Plastic (disambiguation). ... The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is an agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of new technology for use by the military. ...

It is a method using specific synthetic chemical linkers to divert an immune response from its nominal target to something completely different which you would right now like to be temporarily immune to. Let's say you just got exposed to a new strain of the flu. You're already immune to alpha-1,3-galactosyl-galactose bonds. All humans are. Why not divert a fraction of those antibodies to the influenza strain you just picked up? A chemical linker synthesized with an alpha-1,3-gal-gal bond on one end and a DNA aptamer devised to bind specifically to the strain of influenza you have on the other end will link anti-alpha-Gal antibodies to the influenza virus and presto!--you have fooled your immune system into attacking the new virus.[1]

Accreditation of the PCR technique

Some controversy surrounds the balance of credit that should be given to Mullis versus the team at Cetus.[citation needed] In practice, credit has accrued to both the inventor and the company (although not its individual workers) in the form of a Nobel Prize and a $10,000 Cetus bonus for Mullis and $300 million for Cetus when the company sold the patent to Roche Molecular Systems. Cetus was a biotechnology company established in Berkeley, California in 1972. ... Hoffmann-La Roche, Ltd. ...

The main principles of PCR were described in 1971 by Kjell Kleppe, a Norwegian scientist, and some have asserted that Kleppe has a better claim to the invention.[citation needed] Together with 1968 Nobel Prize laureate H. Gobind Khorana, Kleppe released a 20-page research paper on PCR in the 1971 Journal of Molecular Biology. As early as June 18, 1969, Kleppe presented his work at the Gordon Conference in New Hampshire. Using repair replication (the principle of PCR), he duplicated and then quadrupled a small synthetic molecule with the help of two primers and DNA-polymerase. Among the attendees[7] was Stuart Linn, who then used Kleppe's material in his own teachings to his students, including Mullis. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Har Gobind Khorana (born January 9, 1922) is a molecular biologist. ... Published weekly by Elsevier, under the Academic Press imprint, the Journal of Molecular Biology (ISSN: 0022-2836) publishes original scientific research concerning studies of organisms or their components at the molecular level. ... For other uses, see New Hampshire (disambiguation). ...

The suggestion that Mullis was solely responsible for the idea of using Taq polymerase in the PCR process has been refuted by his co-workers at the time.[citation needed] However, other scientists have said that "the full potential [of PCR] was not realized" until Mullis' work in 1983,[8] and at least one book has reported that Mullis' colleagues failed to see the potential of the technique when he presented it to them.[6] Taq polymerase (Taq Pol, or simply Taq) is a thermostable polymerase used in polymerase chain reaction to check for the presence or absence of a gene by amplifying a DNA fragment. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...

The anthropologist Paul Rabinow wrote a book on the history of the PCR method in 1996 in which he questioned whether or not Mullis "invented" PCR or "merely" came up with the concept of it. Rabinow, a Foucault scholar interested in issues of the production of knowledge, used the topic to argue against the idea that scientific discovery is the product of individual work, writing, "Committees and science journalists like the idea of associating a unique idea with a unique person, the lone genius. PCR is, in fact, one of the classic examples of teamwork."[9] This article is about the social science. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Year 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar). ... Michel Foucault (pronounced ) (October 15, 1926 – June 25, 1984) was a French philosopher, historian and sociologist. ...



Mullis has also drawn controversy[citation needed] for his past association with Peter Duesberg and his skepticism about the evidence for the idea that HIV causes AIDS.[10] As the recipient of a Nobel Prize for the PCR technique that is used to measure viral load in people with AIDS, he has often been cited by people within the AIDS dissident movement as someone who supports their views.[citation needed] Mullis wrote in an introduction to Duesberg's Inventing the Aids Virus (1997), "No one has ever proved that HIV causes AIDS. We have not been able to discover any good reasons why most of the people on earth believe that AIDS is a disease caused by a virus called HIV."[11] Peter H. Duesberg (born December 2, 1936 in Germany) is an award-winning professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley. ... Species Human immunodeficiency virus 1 Human immunodeficiency virus 2 Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS, a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections). ... For other uses, see AIDS (disambiguation). ... Viral load is a measure of the severity of a viral infection, and can be estimated by calculating the amount of virus in an involved body fluid, e. ... The AIDS reappraisal movement (or AIDS dissident movement) is a loosely-connected group of activists, journalists, citizens, scientists, researchers, and doctors who deny, challenge, or question, in various ways, the mainstream scientific consensus that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the cause of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). ...

Mullis has said of HIV:

"If HIV has been here all along and it can be passed from mother to child, wouldn't it make sense to test for the antibodies in the mothers of anyone who is positive to HIV, especially if that individual is not showing any signs of disease?... If an HIV-positive woman develops uterine cancer, for example, she is considered to have AIDS. If she is not HIV-positive, she simply has uterine cancer. An HIV-positive man with tuberculosis has AIDS; if he tests negative he simply has tuberculosis. If he lives in Kenya or Colombia, where the test for HIV antibodies is too expensive, he is simply presumed to have the antibodies and therefore AIDS, and therefore he can be treated in the World Health Organization's clinic. It's the only medical help available in some places."[12] It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Endometrial cancer. ... Tuberculosis (abbreviated as TB for tubercle bacillus or Tuberculosis) is a common and deadly infectious disease caused by mycobacteria, mainly Mycobacterium tuberculosis. ... WHO redirects here. ...

Global warming

Mullis is skeptical about the concern over global warming, disagreeing with the theory that humans are a factor[citation needed] and also disagrees with the idea that CFCs cause ozone depletion.[citation needed] Global warming refers to the increase in the average temperature of the Earths near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation. ... For other uses, see CFC (disambiguation). ... Global monthly average total ozone amount Ozone depletion describes two distinct, but related observations: a slow, steady decline of about 4 percent per decade in the total amount of ozone in Earths stratosphere since around 1980; and a much larger, but seasonal, decrease in stratospheric ozone over Earths...

OJ Simpson Trial

Dr. Mullis was supposed to be an expert witness, on the defendant's side, in the 1995 O. J. Simpson murder case. He witnessed most of the trial but was not called on during the trial. (from his book (dancing naked..)) The O.J. Simpson murder case was a highly-publicized U.S. criminal trial in which former American football star for the National Football League (NFL) and actor O. J. Simpson was charged with the murder of his ex-wife and her friend, Ronald Goldman. ...

Personal life

After his Nobel win, Mullis spent time at the beach surfing.[13] For other uses, see Beach (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Surfing (disambiguation). ...

Use of LSD

In a Q&A interview published in the September 1994 issue of California Monthly, Mullis said, "Back in the 1960s and early '70s I took plenty of LSD. A lot of people were doing that in Berkeley back then. And I found it to be a mind-opening experience. It was certainly much more important than any courses I ever took." [14] During a symposium held for centenarian Albert Hofmann, Hofmann revealed that he was told by Nobel-prize-winning chemist Kary Mullis that LSD had helped him develop the polymerase chain reaction that helps amplify specific DNA sequences.[15] Berkeley is a city on the east shore of San Francisco Bay in Northern California, in the United States. ... Albert Hofmann (born January 11, 1906) is a Swiss scientist best known for synthesizing Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). ... “PCR” redirects here. ...

Books authored

  • The Polymerase Chain Reaction, 1994, with Richard A. Gibbs
  • Dancing Naked in the Mind Field. 1998, Vintage Books.

Mullis wrote the 1998 autobiography Dancing Naked in the Mind Field, which gives an account of his initial invention of PCR, as well as providing insights into the opinions and experiences of the author. Several examples of supposedly atypical behavior for a scientist, including the use of LSD, belief in astrology, and the belief in an extraterrestrial encounter, are also chronicled within the book. Cover of the first English edition of 1793 of Benjamin Franklins autobiography. ... Lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly called LSD, LSD-25, or acid. ... Hand-coloured version of the anonymous Flammarion woodcut (1888). ... Extraterrestrial, as an adjective, refers to something that originates, occurs, or is located outside Earth or its atmosphere. ...

Awards and honors

  • 1990 - William Allan Memorial Award of the American Society of Human Genetics | Preis Biochemische Analytik of the German Society of Clinical Chemistry and Boehringer Mannheim
  • 1991 - National Biotechnology Award | Gairdner Award | R&D Scientist of the Year
  • 1992 - California Scientist of the Year Award
  • 1993 - Nobel Prize in Chemistry | Japan Prize | Thomas A. Edison Award
  • 1994 - Honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the University of South Carolina
  • 1998 - Inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame [16] |
  • 2004 - Honorary degree in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology from the University of Bologna, Italy

Ronald H. Brown American Innovator Award[17]

Mullis has also received the John Scott Award, given by the City Trusts of Philadelphia to other Nobelists, as well as Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers.[18] For other uses, see Philadelphia (disambiguation) and Philly. ... Edison redirects here. ... The Wright brothers, Orville (19 August 1871 – 30 January 1948) and Wilbur (16 April 1867 – 30 May 1912), were two Americans who are generally credited[1][2][3] with inventing and building the worlds first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human...

See also

Electron micrograph of the human immunodeficiency virus. ... The global warming controversy is a dispute regarding the nature and consequences of global warming. ... The Nobel Prize controversies are contentious disputes regarding the Nobel Prize. ...


  1. ^ a b c Official Nobel Autobiography
  2. ^ a b c d 'Biotechnology 101 by Brian Robert Shmaefsky
  3. ^ The Economist, 2004
  4. ^ Kary Mullis' biography
  5. ^ The Hastings Center Report, 1998
  6. ^ a b Life on the Edge: Amazing Creatures Thriving in Extreme Environments by Michael Gross
  7. ^ (according to Arthur Kornberg in interview)
  8. ^ Artificial DNA: Methods and Applications by Yury E. Khudyakov, Howard A. Fields
  9. ^ Ethnography of a Nobel Prize
  10. ^ Reason, June 1994
  11. ^ Insight on the News, March 11, 1996
  12. ^ Washington Informer, May 31, 2000
  13. ^ Time Magazine, December 13, 2000
  14. ^ Schoch, Russell (September 1994). "Q&A - A Conversation with Kerry Mullis". California Monthly 105 (1): 20. Berkley, CA: California Alumni Association. Retrieved on 2008-03-11. 
  15. ^ Ann Harrison (2006-01-16). LSD: The Geek's Wonder Drug?. Wired. Wired. Retrieved on 2008-03-11. “Like Herbert, many scientists and engineers also report heightened states of creativity while using LSD. During a press conference on Friday, Hofmann revealed that he was told by Nobel-prize-winning chemist Kary Mullis that LSD had helped him develop the polymerase chain reaction that helps amplify specific DNA sequences.”
  16. ^ Hall of Fame/Inventor Profile
  17. ^ Nobel Prize Winner Among Rondal H. Brown Award Recipients
  18. ^ John Scott Award Goes to NIDDK's Bax

Arthur Kornberg Arthur Kornberg (born March 3, 1918) is an American biochemist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1959 for his discovery of the mechanisms in the biological synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) together with Dr. Severo Ochoa of New York University. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 70th day of the year (71st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 16th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 70th day of the year (71st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

Additional sources

  • Celia Farber, "Interview Kary Mullis", Spin (July 1994). (Focuses on his position regarding HIV and AIDS.)
  • Anthony Liversidge, "Kary Mullis, the great gene machine", Omni magazine (April 1992).
  • Kary Mullis, Dancing Naked in the Mind Field (Pantheon Books, 1998). ISBN 0-679-77400-9
  • Paul Rabinow, Making PCR: a story of biotechnology (University of Chicago Press, 1996). ISBN 0-226-70147-6
  • Charles A. Thomas Jr., Kary B. Mullis, and Phillip E. Johnson, "WHAT CAUSES AIDS? It's An Open Question" Reason (June 1994).

Spin is a music magazine that reports on all the music that rocks. Founded in 1985 by publisher Bob Guccione, Jr. ... The cover of the January 1991 issue of Omni. ... Pantheon Books was an American publishing company that was acquired by Random House in 1961. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Phillip E. Johnson Phillip E. Johnson (born 1940) is a retired UC Berkeley American law professor and author. ...

External links

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Kary Mullis

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Kary Banks Mullis, Nobel Prize-winning chemist, was born on Dec. 28, 1944, in Lenoir, NC.
Kary Mullis received his bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Georgia Tech and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from U.C. Berkeley.
Mullis serves on the board of scientific advisors of several companies, including All Optical Networks and LabBook, and is a frequent lecturer at college campuses and academic meetings around the world.
Kary Mullis - Search Results - MSN Encarta (60 words)
Mullis, Kary Banks, born in 1944, American biochemist and Nobel Prize winner.
Mullis revolutionized the fields of biology and medicine with his...
The speed and efficiency of DNA cloning were vastly improved in the 1980s with the invention of polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
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