Roberts, Richard John

Roberts, Richard John, 1943–, British biochemist, Ph.D., Univ. of Sheffield, 1968. Roberts joined James D. Watson's Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York in 1972, becoming assistant director for research in 1986. Roberts the studied adenovirus, which causes the common cold but has a genetic makeup similar to that of the higher organisms it invades. He discovered that an individual gene can be segmented, rather than continuous, along the DNA helix. In sequencing the adenovirus, he was one of the first researchers to use the computer as a tool for conducting DNA research. Roberts received the 1993 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine jointly with Phillip A. Sharp for discovering “split genes.” In 1992, Roberts joined New England Biolabs, a biotechnology firm, as research director.

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