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Edward Tatum

Edward TatumAKA Edward Lawrie Tatum

Born: 14-Dec-1909
Birthplace: Boulder, CO
Died: 7-Nov-1975
Location of death: New York, NY
Cause of death: Emphysema

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: One gene, one enzyme theory

American geneticist Edward Tatum helped create the field of molecular genetics with his landmark early work, demonstrating that specific genes control the structure of particular enzymes, by regulating specific chemical processes. "The underlying hypothesis", he wrote, "which in a number of cases has been supported by direct experimental evidence, is that each gene controls the production, function, and specificity of a particular enzyme". For corroborating this "one gene one protein" hypothesis with George Beadle, they were awarded the 1958 Nobel Prize, sharing the honor with Joshua Lederberg.

He was also an accomplished performer on the french horn. A lifelong cigarette smoker, Tatum was killed by emphysema. His father, pharmacologist Arthur Tatum, introduced picrotoxin as an antidote for barbiturate poisoning, and arsenoxide as the first effective pre-penicillin treatment for syphilis.

Father: Arthur Lawrie Tatum (pharmacology professor)
Mother: Mabel Webb Tatum
Brother: Elwood Tatum (twin, d. infancy)
Mother: Celia Harriman Tatum (stepmother)
Wife: June Alton Tatum (biochemist-artist, div. 1956, d. 2006)
Daughter: Margaret Tatum Easter ("Peggy")
Daughter: Barbara Tatum
Wife: Viola Kantor Tatum (m. 1956, d. 1974)
Wife: Elsie Bergland Tatum (m. 1974, d. 1998)

    University: University of Chicago
    University: BA Chemistry, University of Wisconsin at Madison (1931)
    University: MS Microbiology, University of Wisconsin at Madison (1932)
    University: PhD Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin at Madison (1934)
    Scholar: University of Wisconsin at Madison (1934-37)
    Scholar: University of Utrecht (1935)
    Scholar: Stanford University (1937-41)
    Teacher: Biology, Stanford University (1941-45)
    Professor: Microbiology, Yale University (1945-48)
    Professor: Biology, Stanford University (1948-53)
    Professor: Biochemistry, Stanford University (1953-57)
    Professor: Biochemistry, Rockefeller University (1957-75)

    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1958, with George Beadle and Joshua Lederberg
    National Academy of Sciences 1952
    American Cancer Society
    American Chemical Society
    American Philosophical Society
    March of Dimes Advisory Council
    Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Advisory Board
    Merck Consultant
    Alpha Chi Sigma Chemistry Fraternity
    Risk Factors: Smoking


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