Jacques Lucien Monod was a French biologist and a Nobel Prize
Winner in Physiology or Medicine in 1965. Born in Paris, he was
awarded also with several other honours and distinctions, among
them the medal of the Legion d'honneur. Monod (along with François
Jacob) is famous for his work on the Lac operon. Study of the
control of expression of genes in the Lac operon provided the
first example of a transcriptional regulation system. He also
suggested the existence of mRNA molecules that link the information
encoded in DNA and proteins.
experimental system used by Jacob and Monod was a common bacterium,
E. coli, but the basic regulatory concept (described in the Lac
operon article) that was discovered by Jacob and Monod is fundamental
to cellular regulation for all organisms. The key idea is that
E. coli does not bother to waste energy making such enzymes if
there is no need to metabolize lactose, such as when other sugars
like glucose are available. This concept is called negative gene
was not only a biologist but also a fine musician and esteemed
writer on the philosophy of science. He was a political activist
and chief of staff of operations for the Forces Françaises
de l'Interieur during World War II. In preparation for the Allied
landings, he arranged parachute drops of weapons, railroad bombings,
and mail interceptions.
Monod died in 1976 and was interred in the Cimetière du
Grand Jas in Cannes on the French Riviera.