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1982: Sir Aaron Klug

Using a new method called crystallographic electron microscopy, Klug (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology) produced a detailed picture of the structure of proteins that interact with DNA. His technique, which combined conventional electron microscopy with the use of X-rays, gives an image with enhanced resolution.

Klug studied a large protein called chromatin, which holds DNA together in chromosomes. He managed to break up chromatin into small fragments that could be examined, and then construct a model of chromosomes based on his knowledge of the structure of the fragment. Chromatin affects how the genetic code is read, so investigation of its structure is crucial in the understanding of cancer, in which the control of growth and division of cells by the genetic material no longer works. Klug won the 1982 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work.