Thursday, 21 November 2013

Fred Sanger - Insulin man

Fred Sanger, who first discovered the amino acid sequence of insulin, passed away yesterday. Insulin is now familiar to most of us, as the protein whose shortage causes the onset of diabetes in human beings. Proteins are the engines of the cell, made up of amino acids, which in turn are three-nucleotide sequences of the four basic building blocks of DNA - adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine, referred to as ACGT.

The sequencing  of a protein was as phenomenal an accomplishment as finding the structure of the DNA by Watson and Crick. The incredible patience which Sanger accomplished is told in books, but since it requires a good understanding of biology, I wont attempt it here. Everybody who has ever had diabetes or someone with diabetes, which was alleviated by insulin, must salute Fred Sanger for his phenomenal contribution to long life and better health of millions of humans.

May there be more Sangers in this world to make it a better place. My father, Rangarathnam, had diabetes and lived a long life because of people like Fred Sanger.

I salute you, sir.

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