Sydney Brenner, Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Crick-Jacobs Center, is one of the past century's leading pioneers in genetics and molecular biology. Most recently, Brenner has been studying vertebrate gene and genome evolution. His work in this area has resulted in new ways of analyzing gene sequences, which has developed a new understanding of the evolution of vertebrates.
Among his many notable discoveries, Brenner established the existence of messenger RNA and demonstrated how the order of amino acids in proteins is determined. He also conducted pioneering work with the roundworm, a model organism now widely used to study genetics. His research with Caenorhabditis elegans garnered insights into aging, nerve cell function and controlled cell death, or apoptosis.