The Info List - John Gurdon

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Sir John Bertrand Gurdon FRS FMedSci (born 2 October 1933), is an English developmental biologist. He is best known for his pioneering research in nuclear transplantation[2][3][4] and cloning.[1][5][6][7] He was awarded the Lasker Award in 2009. In 2012, he and Shinya Yamanaka were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine
Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine
for the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells.[8]


1 Early days 2 Research

2.1 Nuclear transfer 2.2 Messenger RNA
Messenger RNA
expression 2.3 Recent research

3 Politics and religion 4 Honours and awards

4.1 Nobel Prize

5 References 6 External links

Early days[edit] Gurdon attended Edgeborough
and then Eton College, where he ranked last out of the 250 boys in his year group at biology, and was in the bottom set in every other science subject. A schoolmaster wrote a report stating "I believe he has ideas about becoming a scientist; on his present showing this is quite ridiculous."[9][10][11] Gurdon explains it is the only document he ever framed; Gurdon also told a reporter "When you have problems like an experiment doesn't work, which often happens, it's nice to remind yourself that perhaps after all you are not so good at this job and the schoolmaster may have been right."[12] Gurdon went to Christ Church, Oxford, to study classics but switched to zoology. For his DPhil degree he studied nuclear transplantation in a frog species of the genus Xenopus[13][14] with Michael Fischberg at Oxford. Following postdoctoral work at Caltech,[15] he returned to England and his early posts were at the Department of Zoology
of the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
(1962–71). Gurdon has spent much of his research career at the University of Cambridge, first at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (1971–83) and then at the Department of Zoology
(1983–present). In 1989, he was a founding member of the Wellcome/CRC Institute for Cell Biology
and Cancer (later Wellcome/CR UK) in Cambridge, and was its Chair until 2001. He was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics 1991–1995, and Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, from 1995 to 2002. Research[edit]

Play media

A video from an open-access article co-authored by Gurdon:[16] Animal view of different embryos developing in Xenopus
laevis eggs: a diploid laevis x laevis is shown on the top, cleaving and entering gastrulation about 50 min earlier than haploid [laevis] x laevis (middle) and [laevis] x tropicalis cybrid (bottom) embryos.

Nuclear transfer[edit] In 1958, Gurdon, then at the University of Oxford, successfully cloned a frog using intact nuclei from the somatic cells of a Xenopus tadpole.[17][18] This work was an important extension of work of Briggs and King in 1952 on transplanting nuclei from embryonic blastula cells[19] and the successful induction of polyploidy in the stickleback, Gasterosteus aculatus, in 1956 by Har Swarup
Har Swarup
reported in Nature.[20] At that time he could not conclusively show that the transplanted nuclei derived from a fully differentiated cell. This was finally shown in 1975 by a group working at the Basel Institute for Immunology in Switzerland.[21] They transplanted a nucleus from an antibody-producing lymphocyte (proof that it was fully differentiated) into an enucleated egg and obtained living tadpoles. Gurdon’s experiments captured the attention of the scientific community and the tools and techniques he developed for nuclear transfer are still used today. The term clone[22] (from the ancient Greek word κλών (klōn, “twig”)) had already been in use since the beginning of the 20th century in reference to plants. In 1963 the British biologist J. B. S. Haldane, in describing Gurdon’s results, became one of the first to use the word "clone" in reference to animals. Messenger RNA
Messenger RNA
expression[edit] Gurdon and colleagues also pioneered the use of Xenopus
(genus of highly aquatic frog) eggs and oocytes to translate microinjected messenger RNA molecules,[23] a technique which has been widely used to identify the proteins encoded and to study their function. Recent research[edit] Gurdon's recent research has focused on analysing intercellular signalling factors involved in cell differentiation, and on elucidating the mechanisms involved in reprogramming the nucleus in transplantation experiments, including the role of histone variants,[24][25] and demethylation of the transplanted DNA.[26] Politics and religion[edit] Gurdon has stated that he is politically "middle of the road", and religiously agnostic because "there is no scientific proof either way". During his tenure as Master of Magdalene College, Gurdon created some controversy when he suggested that fellows should occasionally be allowed to deliver "an address on anything they would like to talk about" in college chapel services.[27] In an interview with EWTN.com, Gurdon reports that "I'm what you might call liberal minded. I'm not a Roman Catholic. I'm a Christian, of the Church of England." [28] Honours and awards[edit] Gurdon was made a Fellow of the Royal Society
Fellow of the Royal Society
(FRS) in 1971, and was knighted in 1995. In 2004, the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Institute for Cell Biology
and Cancer was renamed the Gurdon Institute[29] in his honour. He has also received numerous awards, medals and honorary degrees.[15] In 2005, he was elected as an Honorary Member of the American Association of Anatomists. He was awarded the 2009 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research award and in 2014 delivered the Harveian Oration at the Royal College of Physicians.[30] Nobel Prize[edit] In 2012 Gurdon was awarded, jointly with Shinya Yamanaka, the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine "for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent".[31] His Nobel Lecture was called "The Egg and the Nucleus: A Battle for Supremacy".


^ a b Williams, R. (2008). "Sir John Gurdon: Godfather of cloning". The Journal of Cell Biology. 181 (2): 178–179. doi:10.1083/jcb.1812pi. PMC 2315664 . PMID 18426972.  ^ Gurdon, J. B.; Byrne, J. A. (2003). "The first half-century of nuclear transplantation". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 100 (14): 8048–8052. doi:10.1073/pnas.1337135100.  ^ Gurdon, J. B. (2006). "From Nuclear Transfer to Nuclear Reprogramming: The Reversal of Cell Differentiation". Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology. 22: 1–22. doi:10.1146/annurev.cellbio.22.090805.140144. PMID 16704337.  ^ Gurdon, J. B.; Melton, D. A. (2008). "Nuclear Reprogramming
in Cells". Science. 322 (5909): 1811–1815. doi:10.1126/science.1160810. PMID 19095934.  ^ Kain, K. (2009). "The birth of cloning: An interview with John Gurdon". Disease Models and Mechanisms. 2 (1–2): 9–10. doi:10.1242/dmm.002014. PMC 2615171 . PMID 19132124.  ^ Gurdon, J. (2003). "John Gurdon". Current Biology. 13 (19): R759–R760. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2003.09.015. PMID 14521852.  ^ Gurdon, J. (2000). "Not a total waste of time. An interview with John Gurdon. Interview by James C Smith". The International journal of developmental biology. 44 (1): 93–99. PMID 10761853.  ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
– 2012 Press Release". Nobel Media AB. 8 October 2012.  ^ "Sir John B. Gurdon
John B. Gurdon
- Biographical". www.nobelprize.org. Retrieved 2017-06-03.  ^ Gurdon Institute (2016-08-25), Gurdon Institute John Gurdon's 'Journey of a lifetime' lecture, March 2016, retrieved 2017-06-03  ^ "None of us should ever be written off". Western Gazette. 18 October 2012.  ^ Collins, Nick (8 October 2012). "Sir John Gurdon, Nobel Prize winner, was 'too stupid' for science at school". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 April 2016.  ^ Nuclear transplantation in Xenopus
(Thesis). Thesis DPhil--University of Oxford. 1960.  ^ Gurdon, John (1961). Studies on nucleocytoplasmic relationships during differentiation in vertebrates (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. (subscription required) ^ a b Rodney Porter Lectures: Biography ^ Narbonne, P.; Simpson, D. E.; Gurdon, J. B. (2011). Misteli, Tom, ed. "Deficient Induction Response in a Xenopus
Nucleocytoplasmic Hybrid". PLoS Biology. 9 (11): e1001197. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001197. PMC 3217020 . PMID 22131902.  ^ Gurdon, J. B.; Elsdale, T. R.; Fischberg, M. (1958). "Sexually Mature Individuals of Xenopus
laevis from the Transplantation of Single Somatic Nuclei". Nature. 182 (4627): 64–65. doi:10.1038/182064a0. PMID 13566187.  ^ Gurdon, J. B. (1962). "The developmental capacity of nuclei taken from intestinal epithelium cells of feeding tadpoles". Journal of Embryology and Experimental Morphology. 10: 622–640. PMID 13951335.  ^ Robert Briggs and Thomas J. King (May 1952). "Transplantation of Living Nuclei From Blastula
Cells into Enucleated Frogs' Eggs". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 38 (5): 455–463. doi:10.1073/pnas.38.5.455. PMC 1063586 . PMID 16589125.  ^ Swarup H. Production of heteroploidy in the three-spined stickle back (Gasterosteus aculeatus L) Nature in 1956;178:1124–1125. doi: 10.1038/1781124a0; http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v178/n4542/abs/1781124a0.html ^ Wabl, M. R.; Brun, R. B.; Du Pasquier, L. (1975). "Lymphocytes of the toad Xenopus
laevis have the gene set for promoting tadpole development". Science. 190 (4221): 1310–1312. doi:10.1126/science.1198115. PMID 1198115.  ^ Gurdon, J. B.; Colman, A. (1999). "The future of cloning". Nature. 402 (6763): 743–746. doi:10.1038/45429. PMID 10617195.  ^ Gurdon, J. B.; Lane, C. D.; Woodland, H. R.; Marbaix, G. (1971). "Use of Frog Eggs and Oocytes for the Study of Messenger RNA
Messenger RNA
and its Translation in Living Cells". Nature. 233 (5316): 177–182. doi:10.1038/233177a0. PMID 4939175.  ^ Jullien, J.; Astrand, C.; Halley-Stott, R. P.; Garrett, N.; Gurdon, J. B. (2010). "Characterization of somatic cell nuclear reprogramming by oocytes in which a linker histone is required for pluripotency gene reactivation". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 107 (12): 5483–5488. doi:10.1073/pnas.1000599107. PMC 2851752 . PMID 20212135.  ^ Pasque, V.; Gillich, A.; Garrett, N.; Gurdon, J. B. (2011). "Histone variant macroH2A confers resistance to nuclear reprogramming". The EMBO Journal. 30 (12): 2373–2387. doi:10.1038/emboj.2011.144. PMC 3116279 . PMID 21552206.  ^ Simonsson, S.; Gurdon, J. (2004). "DNA demethylation is necessary for the epigenetic reprogramming of somatic cell nuclei". Nature Cell Biology. 6 (10): 984–990. doi:10.1038/ncb1176. PMID 15448701.  ^ Johnny Michael (11 October 2012). " John Gurdon
John Gurdon
on ethics, politics, religion, and anti-theism". upublish.info. Archived from the original on 28 March 2013.  ^ Ann Schneible (2013-12-04). " Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
Winner Participates at Vatican Conference".  ^ "The Gurdon Institute". Retrieved 2011-07-26.  ^ "2014 - Event listing from April onwards". Royal College of Physicians. Archived from the original on 7 June 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2014.  ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
2012". NobelPrize.org. 8 October 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Gurdon.

John Gurdon
John Gurdon
interviewed (film) by Alan Macfarlane 20 August 2008 Wolf Prize in Medicine 1978–2008 edited by John Gurdon
John Gurdon
(book) including Chapter 1: John B Gurdon (1989) (pdf, 6 Mb) Cloning
and Stem Cell Discoveries Earn Nobel in Medicine (New York Times, 8 October 2012) His ("The Egg and the Nucleus: A Battle for Supremacy") and Yamanaka's 2012 Nobel Lectures on YouTube
(December 7, 2012)

Academic offices

Preceded by Sir David Chilton Phillips Fullerian Professor of Physiology 1985–1991 Succeeded by Dame Anne McLaren

Preceded by Sir David Calcutt Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge 1994–2002 Succeeded by Duncan Robinson

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Copley Medallists (2001–present)

Jacques Miller (2001) John Pople (2002) John Gurdon
John Gurdon
(2003) Harry Kroto
Harry Kroto
(2004) Paul Nurse
Paul Nurse
(2005) Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking
(2006) Robert May (2007) Roger Penrose
Roger Penrose
(2008) Martin Evans
Martin Evans
(2009) David Cox / Tomas Lindahl
Tomas Lindahl
(2010) Dan McKenzie (2011) John E. Walker (2012) Andre Geim
Andre Geim
(2013) Alec Jeffreys
Alec Jeffreys
(2014) Peter Higgs
Peter Higgs
(2015) Richard Henderson (2016) Andrew Wiles
Andrew Wiles

v t e

Laureates of the Wolf Prize in Medicine


George Snell / Jean Dausset
Jean Dausset
/ Jon J. van Rood (1978) Roger Sperry / Arvid Carlsson
Arvid Carlsson
/ Oleh Hornykiewicz
Oleh Hornykiewicz


César Milstein
César Milstein
/ Leo Sachs
Leo Sachs
/ James L. Gowans (1980) Barbara McClintock
Barbara McClintock
/ Stanley Norman Cohen
Stanley Norman Cohen
(1981) Jean-Pierre Changeux
Jean-Pierre Changeux
/ Solomon H. Snyder
Solomon H. Snyder
/ James W. Black (1982) Donald F. Steiner (1984/5) Osamu Hayaishi (1986) Pedro Cuatrecasas
Pedro Cuatrecasas
/ Meir Wilchek
Meir Wilchek
(1987) Henri G. Hers / Elizabeth F. Neufeld
Elizabeth F. Neufeld
(1988) John Gurdon
John Gurdon
/ Edward B. Lewis
Edward B. Lewis


Maclyn McCarty
Maclyn McCarty
(1990) Seymour Benzer
Seymour Benzer
(1991) Judah Folkman (1992) Michael Berridge / Yasutomi Nishizuka
Yasutomi Nishizuka
(1994/5) Stanley B. Prusiner
Stanley B. Prusiner
(1995/6) Mary F. Lyon
Mary F. Lyon
(1996/7) Michael Sela / Ruth Arnon
Ruth Arnon
(1998) Eric Kandel
Eric Kandel


Avram Hershko
Avram Hershko
/ Alexander Varshavsky (2001) Ralph L. Brinster
Ralph L. Brinster
/ Mario Capecchi
Mario Capecchi
/ Oliver Smithies
Oliver Smithies
(2002/3) Robert Weinberg / Roger Y. Tsien
Roger Y. Tsien
(2004) Alexander Levitzki
Alexander Levitzki
/ Anthony R. Hunter
Anthony R. Hunter
/ Anthony Pawson
Anthony Pawson
(2005) Howard Cedar
Howard Cedar
/ Aharon Razin
Aharon Razin


Axel Ullrich (2010) Shinya Yamanaka
Shinya Yamanaka
/ Rudolf Jaenisch
Rudolf Jaenisch
(2011) Ronald M. Evans (2012) Nahum Sonenberg / Gary Ruvkun / Victor Ambros
Victor Ambros
(2014) John Kappler / Philippa Marrack / Jeffrey V. Ravetch (2015) Lewis C. Cantley / C. Ronald Kahn
C. Ronald Kahn
(2016) James P. Allison
James P. Allison

Agriculture Arts Chemistry Mathematics Medicine Physics

v t e

Laureates of the Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
in Physiology or Medicine


1901 Emil Behring 1902 Ronald Ross 1903 Niels Finsen 1904 Ivan Pavlov 1905 Robert Koch 1906 Camillo Golgi
Camillo Golgi
/ Santiago Ramón y Cajal 1907 Alphonse Laveran 1908 Élie Metchnikoff
Élie Metchnikoff
/ Paul Ehrlich 1909 Emil Kocher 1910 Albrecht Kossel 1911 Allvar Gullstrand 1912 Alexis Carrel 1913 Charles Richet 1914 Róbert Bárány 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 Jules Bordet 1920 August Krogh 1921 1922 Archibald Hill
Archibald Hill
/ Otto Meyerhof 1923 Frederick Banting
Frederick Banting
/ John Macleod 1924 Willem Einthoven 1925


1926 Johannes Fibiger 1927 Julius Wagner-Jauregg 1928 Charles Nicolle 1929 Christiaan Eijkman
Christiaan Eijkman
/ Frederick Gowland Hopkins 1930 Karl Landsteiner 1931 Otto Warburg 1932 Charles Scott Sherrington
Charles Scott Sherrington
/ Edgar Adrian 1933 Thomas Morgan 1934 George Whipple
George Whipple
/ George Minot
George Minot
/ William Murphy 1935 Hans Spemann 1936 Henry Dale / Otto Loewi 1937 Albert Szent-Györgyi 1938 Corneille Heymans 1939 Gerhard Domagk 1940 1941 1942 1943 Henrik Dam
Henrik Dam
/ Edward Doisy 1944 Joseph Erlanger
Joseph Erlanger
/ Herbert Gasser 1945 Alexander Fleming
Alexander Fleming
/ Ernst Chain
Ernst Chain
/ Howard Florey 1946 Hermann Muller 1947 Carl Cori / Gerty Cori
Gerty Cori
/ Bernardo Houssay 1948 Paul Müller 1949 Walter Hess / António Egas Moniz 1950 Edward Kendall / Tadeusz Reichstein
Tadeusz Reichstein
/ Philip Hench


1951 Max Theiler 1952 Selman Waksman 1953 Hans Krebs / Fritz Lipmann 1954 John Enders / Thomas Weller / Frederick Robbins 1955 Hugo Theorell 1956 André Cournand / Werner Forssmann
Werner Forssmann
/ Dickinson W. Richards 1957 Daniel Bovet 1958 George Beadle / Edward Tatum
Edward Tatum
/ Joshua Lederberg 1959 Severo Ochoa
Severo Ochoa
/ Arthur Kornberg 1960 Frank Burnet / Peter Medawar 1961 Georg von Békésy 1962 Francis Crick
Francis Crick
/ James Watson
James Watson
/ Maurice Wilkins 1963 John Eccles / Alan Hodgkin / Andrew Huxley 1964 Konrad Bloch / Feodor Lynen 1965 François Jacob
François Jacob
/ André Lwoff / Jacques Monod 1966 Francis Rous / Charles B. Huggins 1967 Ragnar Granit
Ragnar Granit
/ Haldan Hartline / George Wald 1968 Robert W. Holley
Robert W. Holley
/ Har Khorana / Marshall Nirenberg 1969 Max Delbrück
Max Delbrück
/ Alfred Hershey
Alfred Hershey
/ Salvador Luria 1970 Bernard Katz / Ulf von Euler
Ulf von Euler
/ Julius Axelrod 1971 Earl Sutherland Jr. 1972 Gerald Edelman
Gerald Edelman
/ Rodney Porter 1973 Karl von Frisch
Karl von Frisch
/ Konrad Lorenz
Konrad Lorenz
/ Nikolaas Tinbergen 1974 Albert Claude
Albert Claude
/ Christian de Duve
Christian de Duve
/ George Palade 1975 David Baltimore
David Baltimore
/ Renato Dulbecco
Renato Dulbecco
/ Howard Temin


1976 Baruch Blumberg / Daniel Gajdusek 1977 Roger Guillemin / Andrew Schally
Andrew Schally
/ Rosalyn Yalow 1978 Werner Arber
Werner Arber
/ Daniel Nathans
Daniel Nathans
/ Hamilton O. Smith 1979 Allan Cormack / Godfrey Hounsfield 1980 Baruj Benacerraf / Jean Dausset
Jean Dausset
/ George Snell 1981 Roger Sperry / David H. Hubel
David H. Hubel
/ Torsten Wiesel 1982 Sune Bergström
Sune Bergström
/ Bengt I. Samuelsson / John Vane 1983 Barbara McClintock 1984 Niels Jerne / Georges Köhler / César Milstein 1985 Michael Brown / Joseph L. Goldstein 1986 Stanley Cohen / Rita Levi-Montalcini 1987 Susumu Tonegawa 1988 James W. Black / Gertrude B. Elion
Gertrude B. Elion
/ George H. Hitchings 1989 J. Michael Bishop
J. Michael Bishop
/ Harold E. Varmus 1990 Joseph Murray
Joseph Murray
/ E. Donnall Thomas 1991 Erwin Neher
Erwin Neher
/ Bert Sakmann 1992 Edmond Fischer / Edwin G. Krebs 1993 Richard J. Roberts
Richard J. Roberts
/ Phillip Sharp 1994 Alfred G. Gilman
Alfred G. Gilman
/ Martin Rodbell 1995 Edward B. Lewis
Edward B. Lewis
/ Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard
/ Eric F. Wieschaus 1996 Peter C. Doherty
Peter C. Doherty
/ Rolf M. Zinkernagel 1997 Stanley B. Prusiner 1998 Robert F. Furchgott
Robert F. Furchgott
/ Louis Ignarro
Louis Ignarro
/ Ferid Murad 1999 Günter Blobel 2000 Arvid Carlsson
Arvid Carlsson
/ Paul Greengard
Paul Greengard
/ Eric Kandel


2001 Leland H. Hartwell / Tim Hunt
Tim Hunt
/ Paul Nurse 2002 Sydney Brenner
Sydney Brenner
/ H. Robert Horvitz / John E. Sulston 2003 Paul Lauterbur
Paul Lauterbur
/ Peter Mansfield 2004 Richard Axel
Richard Axel
/ Linda B. Buck 2005 Barry Marshall
Barry Marshall
/ Robin Warren 2006 Andrew Fire / Craig Mello 2007 Mario Capecchi
Mario Capecchi
/ Martin Evans
Martin Evans
/ Oliver Smithies 2008 Harald zur Hausen
Harald zur Hausen
/ Luc Montagnier
Luc Montagnier
/ Françoise Barré-Sinoussi 2009 Elizabeth Blackburn
Elizabeth Blackburn
/ Carol W. Greider
Carol W. Greider
/ Jack W. Szostak 2010 Robert G. Edwards 2011 Bruce Beutler
Bruce Beutler
/ Jules A. Hoffmann / Ralph M. Steinman (posthumously) 2012 John B. Gurdon
John B. Gurdon
/ Shinya Yamanaka 2013 James Rothman
James Rothman
/ Randy Schekman
Randy Schekman
/ Thomas C. Südhof 2014 John O'Keefe / May-Britt Moser
May-Britt Moser
/ Edvard Moser 2015 William C. Campbell / Satoshi Ōmura
Satoshi Ōmura
/ Tu Youyou 2016 Yoshinori Ohsumi 2017 Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, Michael W. Young

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2012 Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize


Robert Lefkowitz
Robert Lefkowitz
(United States) Brian Kobilka
Brian Kobilka
(United States)


Mo Yan
Mo Yan


European Union


Serge Haroche
Serge Haroche
(France) David J. Wineland
David J. Wineland
(United States)

Physiology or Medicine

John Gurdon
John Gurdon
(United Kingdom) Shinya Yamanaka
Shinya Yamanaka

Economic Sciences

Alvin E. Roth
Alvin E. Roth
(United States) Lloyd Shapley
Lloyd Shapley
(United States)

Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
recipients 1990 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 94291756 LCCN: n81047632 ISNI: 0000 0001 1776 0653 GND: 1023551330 SELIBR: 337754 SUDOC: 084997699 NLA: 36069508 NDL: 00442