The Inamori Foundation of Japan has awarded the 1990 Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology to Sydney Brenner, director of the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, for lifetime achievements in molecular biology research. The Kyoto Prizes, Japan's highest international awards, are given each year in three categories: advanced technology, basic sciences, and creative arts and moral sciences. The latter two were won by British primate researcher Jane Goodall and Italian architect Renzo Piano, respectively. Each Kyoto Prize laureate received a certificate of recognition, a gold medal, and a cash award of 45 million Japanese yen (approximately $300,000 U.S.), at ceremonies in Kyoto in October.

In the early 1960s, Brenner made several seminal discoveries in molecular biology. He is most noted for proving the existence of messenger RNA. He proposed that a single amino acid is coded by three nucleotides--a triplet--of DNA or RNA. In addition, he...

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