a digital library of Unitarian Universalist biographies, history, books, and media
the digital library of Unitarian Universalism
Home » Biographies » Phillip Sharp

Phillip Sharp

Phillip SharpUCD awarded the inaugural Ulysses Medal to Dr. Phillip Sharp (MIT) on March 10, 2005, for his outstanding contribution to biomolecular discovery and to advances in medical treatment of diseases such as multiple sclerosis, hepatitis and cancer. The event was kindly sponsored by SFI. Dr. Phil Sharp was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery that an individual gene does not have to be a single, continuous stretch of DNA, but instead can be made up of several DNA segments. This discovery had major implications for genetic discovery and importantly for research into heredity diseases.

Before this discovery, scientists believed that a gene was a continuous stretch of code within a long double-stranded DNA molecule. They worked on the basis that when a gene was activated, its information was copied into a single-stranded RNA molecule (known as messenger RNA), which in turn translated the information into the production of a protein.

RNA (Ribonucleic acid) is a chemical memo that carries genetic information from the DNA, where it is stored, to parts of the cellular machinery that turns the genes into proteins, the building blocks of life.

With Sharp’s discovery of split genes came a second revelation—that the RNA could edit out and select genetic code in a process known as splicing. These two processes opened up an entirely new evolutionary mechanism, one in which gene segments are rearranged or shuffled by RNA. In the research that followed Sharp’s discovery, scientists identified several diseases, including forms of anemia and leukemia that are due to RNA splicing errors.

—Courtesy of University College Dublin

Recommended Reading

“Nuclear Processes and Oncogenes,” Bristol-Myers Squibb Cancer Sympsia, Vol. 14, by Phillip A. Sharp.

Click here to view Supplemental Reading to Phillip Sharp on Amazon.

Series Navigation<< Paul SzepMaurice Strong >>

Notable in UU History
C. Conrad Wright

The Living Legacy of C. Conrad Wright: Introduction

On February 7, 2011, C. Conrad Wright, a retired Harvard Divinity School professor and preeminent scholar ... Read More
Florence Luscomb

Luscomb, Florence Hope (1887-1985)

Below are two biographical perspectives on Florence Hope Luscomb, the first from the Massachusetts Foundation for ... Read More
James Russell Lowell

Lowell, James Russell (1819-1891)

A poet of great renown in the 19th century, Lowell was one of six children born ... Read More
Edgar S. Brightman

Ingersoll Immortality Lectures: 1922-1929

1922 KIRSOPP LAKE Immortality and the Modern Mind 1923 GEORGE EDWIN HORR The Christian Faith and ... Read More