Mullis, Kary Banks

Mullis, Kary Banks, 1944–2019, 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. He subsequently was a consultant and lecturer, worked on molecular biology for other corporations, and was a visiting professor and researcher. 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; it was an essential tool for the Human Genome Project.

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