Hudson Freeze might have a chilly last name, but this week he’s being honored for finding something hot.
Freeze currently directs the Genetic Disease Program at Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla. But in 1969, he was a 20-year-old undergraduate helping out on a research trip to Yellowstone National Park. Working with Indiana University professor Thomas Brock, he discovered an unusual kind of bacterium.
Freeze never imagined how useful this bacterium would turn out to be. It yields an enzyme that has turned out be a crucial ingredient in a process called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). By allowing scientists to amplify tiny amounts of DNA, the procedure facilitated a biotech boom and enabled modern genetic sequencing.
Read the full, original story here: How A Heat-Seeking Bacterium Enabled The Genetics Revolution