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Rudolf Jaenisch, 2003
22 April 1942 |
|Fields||Biochemistry Genetics Medicine|
|Institutions||Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry (Munich)
Fox Chase Cancer Center (Philadelphia)
Salk Institute (La Jolla, CA)
Heinrich Pette Institute of the University of Hamburg
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (Cambridge, MA)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|Alma mater||University of Munich|
|Academic advisors||Arnold Levine|
|Known for||Epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation
Embryonic stem cell research
|Notable awards||Boehringer Mannheim Molecular Bioanalytics Prize (1996)
Peter Gruber Foundation Award in Genetics (2001)
Robert Koch Prize (2002)
Max Delbrück Medal (2006)
Massry Prize from the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California (2008)
Wolf Prize in Medicine (2011)
National Medal of Science (2011)
Rudolf Jaenisch (born 22 April 1942) is a biologist at MIT. He is a pioneer of transgenic science, in which an animal’s genetic makeup is altered. Jaenisch has focused on creating transgenic mice to study cancer and neurological diseases. 
Jaenisch’s first breakthrough occurred in 1974 when he and Beatrice Mintz showed that foreign DNA could be integrated into the DNA of early mouse embryos. They injected retrovirus DNA into early mouse embryos and showed that leukemia DNA sequences had integrated the mouse genome and also to its offspring. These mice were the first transgenic mammals in history.
Jaenisch is a leader in the field of therapeutic cloning, also known as nuclear transfer, in which the genetic information from one cell is transplanted into an unfertilized egg that has had its DNA removed. When it is placed in a Petri dish, the egg develops into a blastocyst from which stem cells can be harvested. Jaenisch’s therapeutic cloning research deals exclusively with mice, but he is an advocate for using the same techniques with human cells in order to advance embryonic stem cell research. However, Jaenisch opposes human reproductive cloning, where the egg is placed into the uterus of a female, with the hope that it will develop into a fetus.
Jaenisch received his doctorate in medicine from the University of Munich in 1967. He was head of the Department of Tumor Virology at the Heinrich Pette Institute at the University of Hamburg. He has co-authored more than 300 research papers and has received numerous prizes and recognitions including an appointment to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2003, and the 2013 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science from the Franklin Institute. He is currently a member of the Whitehead Institute and a Biology professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He participated in the 2005 science conference on human cloning at the United Nations and serves on the science advisory boards of the Genetics Policy Institute and Stemgent.
- Jaenisch R, Mintz B (1974). "Simian virus 50 DNA sequences in DNA of healthy adult mice derived from preimplantation blastocysts injected with viral DNA". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 71 (4): 1250–1254. doi:10.1073/pnas.71.4.1250. PMC 388203. PMID 4364530.
- "NAS Membership Directory". U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
- "Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science". Franklin Institute. 2013. Retrieved April 30, 2013.