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Sir John Bertrand Gurdon

Gurdon, Sir John Bertrand, 1933–, British biologist, Ph.D. Oxford, 1962. He has been a researcher at Cambridge since 1971. Gurdon was the joint recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Shinya Yamanaka for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent. Pluripotency is the capacity to develop into every type of tissue found in an adult, and is a characteristic of embryonic stem cells. In 1962, Gurdon cloned a frog by transferring an intestinal cell nucleus into an egg cell, proving that all body cells contain the same genes and that the specialization of mature cells is reversible. His achievement laid the groundwork for subsequent research into stem cells, including Yamanaka's successful creation (2006) of embryonic-like stem cells in the laboratory from adult cells of the same organism. Gurdon's work continues to focus on the reprogramming of egg cells, with the goal of creating an unlimited supply of embryonic stem cells from adult cells.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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