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Delbrück, Max Ludwig Henning

Delbrück, Max Ludwig Henning dĕl´brük , 1906–1981, American biophysicist, b. Berlin, Germany. Ph.D, Univ. of Göttingen, 1930. He spent most of his career as a professor at the California Institute of Technology. Delbrück was co-recipient of the 1969 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with Alfred D. Hershey and Salvador E. Luria . The three were cited for their discoveries concerning the replication mechanism and genetic structure of viruses. Working independently but collaboratively beginning in 1940, the three researchers used bacteriophages , viruses that invade bacteria and cause their disintegration, to study such fundamental life processes as self-replication and mutation. Delbrück is credited with discovering an unanticipated genetic interaction between viruses infecting the same cell, subsequently identified as genetic recombination . The work done by Delbrück, Hershey and Luria played a significant role in the subsequent development of the disciplines of molecular biology and virology.

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

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