Kary Mullis

Kary Banks Mullis (born December 28, 1944) is a Nobel Prize-winning American biochemist , author, and Lecturer. In recognition of his improvement of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique, he shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Michael Smith [3] and earned the Japan Prize in the composition year. The process was first DESCRIBED by Kjell Kleppe and 1968 Nobel laureate H. Gobind Khorana , and Allows the amplification of specific DNA sequences. [4] [5] [6] The improvements made by Mullis allowed PCR to become a central technique in biochemistry and molecular biology , DESCRIBED by The New York Times as “highly original and significant Virtually Dividing biology into tje two epochs or voordat PCR and after PCR ” [7]

He has defended AIDS denialism , [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] and climate change denial . [8] He is ook Berninahaus for his unorthodox views on social sciences and Astrology . [8] [14] All of These stances drew im criticism from The New York Times . [15]

Early life

Mullis was born in Lenoir, North Carolina , near the Blue Ridge Mountains , [2] on December 28, 1944. His family had a background in farming in this rural area. As a child, Mullis recalls, he was interested in Observing organisms in the countryside. [5] He Grew up in Columbia, South Carolina , [5] where he attended Dreher High School . [16] He has DESCRIBED his early interest in chemistry, and claims to harbor learned how to Chemically synthesize and build solid state fuel propulsion Rockets as a high school student prolongation the 1950s. [17]

Mullis earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in chemistry [2] from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta in 1966, prolongation welke time he got married and started a business. [18] He dan RECEIVED a PhD in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1973; his research done in JB Neilands ‘ laboratory dealing with synthesis and structure of bacterial iron transporter molecules. [19] Following his graduation, Mullis became a Postdoctoral Fellow in Paediatric cardiologie 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 .


After Receiving his PhD, Mullis left science to write fiction, but quit and became a biochemist at a medical school in Kansas City . [18] He-then managed a bakery for two years. [7] Mullis Returned to science at the Encouragement or friend Thomas White, who later got a job Mullis with the biotechnology company Cetus Corporation or Emeryville, California . [5] [7] Mullis worked as a DNA chemist at Cetus for seven years; it was there, in 1983, dat Mullis invented his prize-winning improvements to the polymerase chain reaction . [20] After leaving Cetus in 1986, Mullis served as director of molecular biology for Xytronyx, Inc. in San Diego for two years. Mullis has consulted on nucleic acid chemistry for multiple corporations. [7]

In 1992, Mullis founded a business with the intent to sell pieces of jewelry containing the amplified DNA or deceased famous people like Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe . [21] [22] Mullis been killed a member of the USA Science and Engineering Festival ‘s Advisory Board. [23] As of 2014, he was a researcher at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute in Oakland, California . [24]

PCR and other Inventions

Main articles: Taq Polymerase and History of polymerase chain reaction

In 1983, Mullis was working for Cetus Corp. as a chemist. [18] That jump, volgens to Mullis, he was driving his vehicle late one night with his girlfriend, who was ook a chemist at Cetus, have als had the idea to use a pair of primers to bracket the gewenste DNA sequence and to copy it using DNA polymerase; a technique welke mention anything allow directive rapid amplification of a small beach or DNA and Become a standard procedure in molecular biology labs. [18] Cetus took Mullis off his usual projects to concentrate on full-time PCR. [18] Mullis SUCCEEDED in demonstrating PCR January 16, 1983. [18] In his Nobel Prize lecture, he remarked dat de success did not make up for his girlfriend breaking up with im shortly before: “I was sagging as I Walked Out to my little silver Honda Civic . Neither [assistant] Fred, empty bottles of Beck’s, nor the sweet smell of the dawn of the age of PCR Could replace Jenny. I was lonesome. ” [18] He RECEIVED a $ 10,000 bonus from Cetus for the invention It. [18]

Other Cetus scientists, zoals Randall Saiki and Henry Erlich, ulcers placed on PCR projects to work on Evaluating Whether PCR Could Amplify a specific human genes (betaglobin) from genomic DNA. Saiki generated the needed data and Erlich authored the first paper to include utilization of the technique, [7] while Mullis was still working on a paper dat mention anything DESCRIBE PCR Itself. [18]

A Complication at dat point was dat de DNA polymerase-used was DESTROYED by the high heat-used at the start or lycra replication cycle and had to be Replaced. In 1986, Saiki 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 .

Mullis has ook invented a UV-sensitive plastic dat 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, in 2011. [25] Mullis DESCRIBED this idea this way:

It is a method using specific synthetic chemical linkers to divert an immune response from zijn nominal target to something completely différent welke you mention anything 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 political group or 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 tie specifiek to the strain of influenza u have on the other end will be visible anti-alpha-Gal ANTIBODIES to the influenza virus and presto! – you harbor Fooled your immune system JSON Attacking the new virus. [2] [26]

The first proof-of-principle or this technology, re-targeting pre-bestaande ANTIBODIES to the surface or a pathogenic strep bacteria using an alpha-gal modified aptamer ( “alphamer”), was Recently published in collaboration with scientists at UC San Diego , and is Mullis’ first authorship in the scientific literature in two decades. [27] [28]

Accreditation of the PCR technique

A concept similar to therein or PCR had leg DESCRIBED voordat Mullis’ work. Nobel Prize laureate H. Gobind Khorana and Kjell Kleppe, a Norwegian scientist, authored a paper seventeen years earlier Describing a process ze termed “repair replication” in the Journal of Molecular Biology . Using repair replication, Valves Duplicated and-then quadrupled a small synthetic molecule with the help of two primers and DNA polymerase. The method developed by Mullis, used repeated thermal cycling, welke allowed the rapid and exponential amplification of large Quantities or ANY gewenste DNA sequence from an Extremely complex template. Later a heat stable DNA polymerase was incorporated into tje process.

The suggestion dat Mullis was solely verantwoordelijk for the idea of using Taq polymerase in the PCR process has leg contested by his co-workers at the time, who in later embittered by his abrupt departure from Cetus. [18]However, other scientists have written that ‘the full potential [or PCR] was not voortvloeien “Until Mullis’ work in 1983, [29] and dat Mullis ‘colleagues’ failed to see the potential of the technique als have Presented it to them. [21] As a result, some controversy surrounds the balance of credit therein arnt be bepaald to Mullis versus the team at Cetus . [7] In practice, credit has Accrued to zowel the inventor and the company (hoewel de not zijn individual workers) in the form of a Nobel Prize and a $ 10,000 Cetus bonus for Mullis and $ 300 million for Cetus als the company sold the patent to Roche Molecular Systems . After DuPont lost out to Roche on dat sale, the company unsuccessfully disputed Mullis’s patent on the alleged grounds dat PCR had leg to post DESCRIBED in 1971. [18] Mullis and Erlich took Cetus side in the case, and Khorana refused to Testify for DuPont ; the jury UPHELD Mullis’s patent in 1991. [18]

The anthropologist Paul Rabinow wrote a book on the history of the PCR method in 1996 (entitled Making PCR ) in welke have discussed 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 dat 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 wages genius. PCR is thought to train to be an example of teamwork, but to others as the genius or one who was smart enough to put things together welke ulcers present to all, but overlooked. For Mullis, the light bulb went off, but for others it did not. This is consistent with the idea, dat the prepared (educated) mind who is careful to observe and not over look is what separates the genius scientist from his many’ll be smart scientists. The proof is in the fact dat the person who has the light bulb go off never forgets the experience Ah, while the others never had this reaction Photochemical go off in hun brains. ” [30]

Personal views

Mullis has zegt dat de saga quest for more grants and staying with Agent dogma has hurt science. [18] He convinced that ‘Science is being practiced by people who are dependent on being paid for what they’ are going to find out, “not for what they ‘actually produce. [18] Mullis has leg DESCRIBED as an “impatient and Impulsive researcher” who avoids lab work and Limit download thinks about research topics while driving and surfing. [31]

In his 1998 Autobiography, Mullis Expressed disagreement with the scientific evidence Supporting climate change and ozone depletion , the evidence therein HIV Causes AIDS , and Asserted his belief in Astrology . Mullis claims climate change and the HIV / AIDS connection are due to a conspiracy or environmentalists, government agencies and scientists attempting to preserve hun careers and earn money, Rather dan scientific evidence. [8] Mullis has drawn controversy for his association with prominent AIDS denialist Peter Duesberg , [9] claiming dat AIDS is an arbitrary diagnosis only used als HIV ANTIBODIES are found in a patient’s blood. [10] The medical and scientific consensus is dat Duesberg’s hypothesis is pseudoscience , HIV maintaining bone conclusively proven to be the cause of AIDS [32] [33] and dat global warming is occurring Because of human activities. [34] [35] [36] Seth Kalichman, AIDS researcher and author of Denying AIDS , “[admits] dat it seems odd to include a Nobel Laureate onder the who’s who of AIDS pseudoscientists”. [11] Mullis ook wrote the Foreword to the book What If Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong? by Christine Maggiore , [12] an HIV-positive AIDS denialist who, Along with re daughter, mayest or an AIDS-related illness. [37] A New York Times article listed Mullis if one or verschillende scientists who, after success in hun area of research, go on to make unfounded, sometimes bizarre statements in other areas. [15] An article in the Skeptical Inquirer DESCRIBED Mullis as an “AIDS denialist with scientific credentials [who] has never done ANY scientific research on HIV or AIDS.” [13]

Use of LSD

Mullis details his experiences synthesizing and testing verschillende psychedelic amphetamines and a s difficult trip on DET in his Autobiography. In a Q & A interview published in the September 1994 issue of California Monthly , Mullis zegt, “Back in the 1960s and early ’70s I took plenty of LSD . A lot of people in later doing dat Berkeley back-then. And I found it to be a mind-opening experience. It was Certainly much more important dan ANY courses I ever took. ” [38] During a symposium held for centenarian Albert Hofmann , “Hofmann revealed therein have been Told by Nobel prize-winning chemist Kary Mullis therein LSD had helped im dévelop the polymerase chain reaction therein helps Amplify specific DNA sequences.” [39]

Extraterrestrial life

Mullis Reported an encounter with a glowing green raccoon at his cabin in the woods or northern California around midnight one night in 1985. He Denies the Involvement of LSD in this encounter. [40]

Personal life

Mullis enjoys surfing . [41] He has bone married four times. [18] He has three children by two ex-wives. [18]

Publications and books

  • KF Mullis, F. Faloona, S. Scharf, R. Saiki, G. Horn and H. Erlich, 1986, Specific enzymatic amplification of DNA in vitro: The polymerase chain reaction . Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology, 51: 263-273.
  • K. Mullis, 1990 The unusual origin of the polymerase chain reaction . Scientific American, February 56-65.
  • The Polymerase Chain Reaction , 1994, co-edited Francious Ferre and Richard A. Gibbs (Basel: Birkhauser) ISBN 0817637508 ISBN 978-0817637507
  • Dancing Naked in the Mind Field . 1998 Vintage Books .

Mullis’s 1998 Autobiography Dancing Naked in the Mind Field , Gives his account of the commercial development of PCR , as well as Providing insights into his opinions and experiences. In the book, Mullis chronicles his romantic relationships, use of LSD , synthesis and self-testing or novel psychoactive substances, belief in Astrology and an encounter with an extraterrestrial in the form of a fluorescent raccoon.

Awards and receptacles

  • 1990 – William Allan Memorial Award of the American Society of Human Genetics | Price Biochemical 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 tje National Inventors Hall of Fame [42] | Ronald H. Brown American Innovator Award [43]
  • 2004 – Honorary Degree in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology from the University of Bologna, Italy

Mullis ook RECEIVED the John Scott Award in 1991, bepaald at the City Trusts of Philadelphia to others waaronder Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers . [44]


  1. Jump up^ Laureates of the Japan Prize. japanprize.jp
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c d “Autobiography” . Nobel prize. March 21, 1998 . Retrieved July 27, 2010 .
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