ASBMB Nobel Prize Winners

1993 – Michael Smith



Michael Smith (1932 – 2000) was awarded half of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his development of oligonucleotide-based, site-directed mutagenesis (creation of genetic mutations). In his experiment, Smith interconverted a tryptophan codon, TGG, and an amber codon, TAG, by G-T and A-C mismatches. Before the advent of Smith's technique, scientists could only create genetic mutations by imprecise and haphazard methods. Smith’s technique also made it possible for scientists to determine the role each amino acid plays in protein structure and function.