Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Noted British biochemist Frederick Sanger, considered the father of genomics, has died at the age of 95.
Regarded as "one of the greatest scientists of any generation" and a hero in the British science circles, Sanger's work centered around genomics: the study of the structure, function, evolution, and mapping of genomes, and is credited with developing techniques to determine the structure of proteins.
"The death of a great person usually provokes hyperbole, but it is impossible to exaggerate the impact of Fred Sanger's work on modern biomedical science," said Prof. Colin Blakemore, the former chief executive of the UK Medical Research Council.
Born in 1918, Sanger planned to pursue a career in medicine, like his father, but switched to biochemistry while at the University of Cambridge. There he got working on studying the precise structure of proteins and won his first Nobel prize in 1958. Sanger figured out which amino acids were used to build insulin.
Having studied proteins and amino acids he shifted his research to unraveling the mysteries of DNA and its building blocks, and successfully produced the first whole genome in a virus. In 1980 he received his second Nobel for developing the "Sanger sequencing," which is used to this day to separate DNA fragments and read the sequence.
In 1986, Sanger was awarded one of Britain's highest honors -- the Order of Merit. However he declined knighthood as he didn't want to be addressed as Sir.
Sanger worked until the age of 65 when he retired to spend more time gardening and "messing about in boats".