Mullis, Kary Banks, 1944–, American biochemist, b. Lenoir, N.C., Ph.D. Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1972. Mullis was a researcher with Cetus Corp., Emeryville, Calif., from 1979 to 1986 and with Xytronyx, Inc., San Diego, Calif., from 1986 to 1987. Since 1987, he has been a consultant and lecturer. In 1993 Mullis was a corecipient, with Michael Smith, of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his invention of polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR enables strands of DNA to be rapidly copied with simple tools, including a test tube, some reagents, and a heat source. PCR is used in a range of applications, from diagnosing disease and DNA fingerprinting to characterizing the genetic makeup of extinct animal species.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.