Joshua Lederberg in the 1960s (NLM). Lederberg’s 1946 discovery of mating in Escherichia coli was heralded by Salvador Luria as likely to be “among the most fundamental advances in the whole history of bacteriological science”. For this work he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 1958. The bacterial mating mechanism, called conjugation, a major mechanism for horizontal gene transfer, is now known to have to have evolved to perform a wide range of biological roles for injection of both DNA and protein into diverse target cells, including bacteria, yeasts, plants and protists

Joshua Lederberg