The Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has expressed her heartfelt condolences on the passing of the pioneering decipher of the genetic code and South African Nobel laureate, Dr. Sydney Brenner.

The Germiston-born biologist Dr. Brenner died on Friday 5th April 2019, aged 92. Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said his passing is a sad loss for our nation and the field of research and development.

Amongst his notable achievements to help determine the nature of the genetic code and shared a Nobel Prize in 2002 for developing a tiny transparent worm or the Caenorhabditis elegans nematode worm into a test bed for biological discoveries and human-disease research in the 1960s and 1970s. This sparked a new field of research - some 15,000 research papers of the past decade include a reference to the worm.

Over the past 35 years he maintained close links with Singapore, where he was an honorary citizen, and helped to build up its medical-research capacity. Not only was he a founding member of the European Molecular Biology Organization in Germany, he was also a  founding member of the Molecular Sciences Institute in Berkeley earning in California, United States and former director of the Medical Research Council’s prestigious Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the Oxford University in Cambridge where he obtained his PHD. The Institute for Molecular Bioscience at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, is named after him.

"He was inspirational and selfless, with a passion for scientific research. His endless quest for knowledge was not for its own sake but to make the world a better place to live for all. Amongst his many good deeds he donated part of his Nobel Prize money towards the running of a fellowship programme at the Academy of Science of South Africa. We are grateful for his contribution to our country and the world and his passing is a loss for us and the global community at large." Minister  Kubayi-Ngubane said.

Enquiries:
Hlengiwe Nhlabathi
Ministry of Science and Technology 
Cell: 0647548426