Norton Zinder

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Norton Zinder
Born Norton David Zinder
November 7, 1928
New York City, New York
Died February 3, 2012(2012-02-03) (aged 83)
New York City, New York
Fields Microbiology
Institutions Rockefeller University
Alma mater University of Wisconsin–Madison
Doctoral advisor Joshua Lederberg
Doctoral students Harvey Lodish
Known for Transduction
Notable awards NAS Award in Molecular Biology (1966)
AAAS Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility (1982)

Norton David Zinder (November 7, 1928 – February 3, 2012)[1] was an American biologist famous for his discovery of genetic transduction. Zinder was born in New York City, received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and became a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1969. He led a lab at Rockefeller University until shortly before his death.

In 1966 he was awarded the NAS Award in Molecular Biology from the National Academy of Sciences.[2]

Genetic transduction and RNA bacteriophage[edit]

Working as a graduate student with Joshua Lederberg,[3][4][5] Zinder discovered that bacteriophage[6] can carry genes from one bacterium to another. Initial experiments were carried out using Salmonella. Zinder and Lederberg named this process of genetic exchange transduction.

Later, Zinder discovered the first bacteriophage that contained RNA as its genetic material. At that time, Harvey Lodish (now of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research) worked in his lab.[7]

He died in 2012 of pneumonia after a long illness.[8]


  1. ^ Lodish, H.; Fedoroff, N. (2012). "Norton Zinder (1928-2012)". Science. 335 (6074): 1316. PMID 22422973. doi:10.1126/science.1220682. 
  2. ^ "NAS Award in Molecular Biology". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  3. ^ Lederberg, J.; Zinder, N. (1948). "Concentration of biochemical mutants of bacteria with penicillin". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 70 (12): 4267–4268. PMID 18105993. doi:10.1021/ja01192a521. 
  4. ^ Lederberg, J.; Lederberg, E. M.; Zinder, N. D.; Lively, E. R. (1951). "Recombination analysis of bacterial heredity". Cold Spring Harbor symposia on quantitative biology. 16: 413–443. PMID 14942753. doi:10.1101/sqb.1951.016.01.030. 
  5. ^ Zinder, N. D.; Lederberg, J. (1952). "Genetic Exchange in Salmonella". Journal of Bacteriology. 64 (5): 679–699. PMC 169409Freely accessible. PMID 12999698. 
  6. ^ Kresge, N.; Simoni, R. D.; Hill, R. L. (2011). "The Molecular Genetics of Bacteriophage: The Work of Norton Zinder". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 286 (25): e4–e5. PMC 3121416Freely accessible. PMID 21830328. doi:10.1074/jbc.o111.000244. 
  7. ^ Lodish, H. F.; Zinder, N. D. (1966). "Replication of the RNA of Bacteriophage f2". Science. 152 (3720): 372–377. PMID 17775172. doi:10.1126/science.152.3720.372. 
  8. ^ Nicolas Wade: Norton D. Zinder, Researcher in Molecular Biology, Dies at 83. In: The New York Times. February 7, 2012.

Further reading[edit]