Wspomnienie o Piotrze Słonimskim – jednym z twórców genetyki molekularnej


  • Włodzimierz Zagórski Instytut Biochemii i Biofizyki PAN, Warszawa

Słowa kluczowe:

Piotr Słonimski, yeast molecular biology, non-mendelian genetics, mosaic genes, genomic


Piotr Słonimski, full professor of genetics at University Paris 6 and associate professor on Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics P.A.S. Born in Warsaw 9.11.1922 died in Paris 25.04.2009. He was full member of French Academy of Science and foreign member of Polish Academy of Sciences, Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as of several others European Academies and dr. hc of many European Universities. He was honored by number of scientific prizes, and was holder of several high decorations, French and Polish. Piotr Słonimski studied medicine during the II World War in Warsaw Underground University, and started after the war his scientific career getting in 1946 his M.D. title at Jagiellonian University in Cracow. Being under occupation the active member of Polish underground and soldier of Warsaw 44 insurrection against Nazis, in Poland incorporated into soviet block he did not escaped the repressions falling on the anti-nazi independence fighters and was arrested by communist secret services. After a few months in prison he was liberated and left Poland for France, were in laboratory of Boris Ephrussi he started his career in CNRS, where from 1971 to 1992 was Director of Centre de Genetique Moleculaire. In line with solid french tradition yeast S. cerevisiae was preferred model of his studies. Here he demonstrated non-standard heritage of mitochondrial traits and become one of co-founders of non-mendelian genetics in Eucatyota. By subtle genetic analysis of selected mitochondrial genes he was first to demonstrate the existence of mosaic genes and pointed towards the regulatory function of information carried on by introns. In nineties Piotr Słonimski was a spiritus movens of European yeast genomics program, acknowledged by special issue of Nature, giving full gene repertoire of the first eucaryotic organism. His scientific interest stayed then in genomes. Here with advanced cryptology methods he was looking for the existence of non-trivial rhythms in coding DNA sequences. His death left in sorrow not only his family but also all the scientist of “yeast community” as well as his comrades in arms from underground and Solidarity movement.





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