Altman, Sidney

Altman, Sidney, 1939–, Canadian-American molecular biologist, b. Montreal, Ph.D., Univ. of Colorado, 1967. A professor at Yale Univ. since 1971, he discovered that RNA could function as enzymes; it was previously thought that enzymatic activity was only possible in protein molecules. His discovery has a potential use in fighting viral infections. For this work, Altman shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physics with Thomas Cech, who independently made the same discovery.

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