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Geneticist Ray Wu dies

Geneticist and genetic engineering pioneer Ray Wu died on February 10 of cardiac arrest. He was 79. In 1970, Wu developed a new location-specific primer-extension technique that became the first method of sequencing DNA. In the following decade, Frederick Sanger adapted the approach for faster sequencing, and received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the work in 1980. Wu's lab also devised other approaches that were used to analyze genetic sequences and to construct vectors for cloning genes,

By | February 19, 2008

Geneticist and genetic engineering pioneer Ray Wu died on February 10 of cardiac arrest. He was 79. In 1970, Wu developed a new location-specific primer-extension technique that became the first method of sequencing DNA. In the following decade, Frederick Sanger adapted the approach for faster sequencing, and received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the work in 1980. Wu's lab also devised other approaches that were used to analyze genetic sequences and to construct vectors for cloning genes, many of which remain in use. A 1985 linkurl:paper;http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/pagerender.fcgi?artid=341170&pageindex=1#page from Wu's group describing the use of cDNA probes to analyze the evolutionary history of a gene family has been cited more than 1800 times. linkurl:Jack Szostak;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53763/ of Harvard Medical School, who worked in Wu's lab a Cornell University as a grad student and postdoc between 1973 and 1979, remembered his advisor as a person who gave people in the lab the freedom to explore ideas. "He was always encouraging and the lab was exciting because we felt that we were at the frontiers of science," Szostak wrote in an Email to The Scientist. Wu's group used the novel genetic engineering techniques they developed to insert foreign genes into rice; the idea was to improve yields of cereal crops in the developing world. A technique he developed in 2002 for producing high-yield rice resistant to environmental factors such as drought, salinity and insect attack is now being developed for commercial use, Cornell geneticist Susan McCouch linkurl:told;http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-wu18feb18,1,4418796.story the Los Angeles Times. "Where rice is grown, everyone knows Ray Wu," she said. Wu was born in China in 1928 and came to the US when he was 20 years old. In 1966, he joined the biochemistry and molecular biology faculty of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. In the 1980s, he founded and ran an initiative that brought more than 400 top Chinese students in biochemistry and molecular biology to train in the US. Throughout his career, he served on several Chinese, Taiwanese and international advisory councils on genetic engineering and biotechnology. Wu is survived by his wife and two children. Image: Cornell University
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Comments

Avatar of: Fukai Bao

Fukai Bao

Posts: 15

February 19, 2008

Dr. Wu is a scientific Hercules. He have made a huge contribution to current genetics and scientific communications between China And US. He should have gotten 1980 Nobel Prize with Sanger! Unluckily,he lost it. I met him at a meeting when I was in US.I miss him.\n\nFukai Bao, MD

February 19, 2008

Dr. Ray Wu?s passing is a tremendous personal loss to me and my fellow CUSBEA members. As the founder of the program, Dr. Wu created a unique opportunity for each and every one of us in the 80s. He will be always remembered as a mentor with vision and heart.
Avatar of: Anuradha Ray

Anuradha Ray

Posts: 1

February 19, 2008

My husband (Prabir Ray, Ph.D.) and I were fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to spend a couple of postdoc years in his lab in Ithaca. Unquestionably, he was a pioneer in the field of molecular biology and his research cast a wide net that covers the core of this discipline. Most importantly, he was a humble and kind human being. He would be fondly remembered and sorely missed by those whose paths had crossed his.
Avatar of: Nasar S.K.T.

Nasar S.K.T.

Posts: 9

February 21, 2008

More than just showing the hidden treasures of genetics to the world, Laureate Ray Wu taught humanity the magic of applied genetics thus opening up new ways to deal with many facets of endeavours. Alas, our knowledge could not conquer his death!\nMen and women - not only professional geneticists necessarily - across geography and generation will always gratefully remember Ray Wu.

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