Jacques Monod

Jacques Monod
Jacques Monod
Born February 9, 1910(1910-02-09)
Paris, France
Died May 31, 1976(1976-05-31) (aged 66)
Paris, France
Nationality French
Fields Biology
Known for Lac operon, Allosteric regulation
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1965)

Jacques Lucien Monod (February 9, 1910 – May 31, 1976) was a French biologist who was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1965, sharing it with François Jacob and Andre Lwoff "for their discoveries concerning genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis".[1] He and François Jacob showed that the living cell controls its manufacture of proteins through a feedback mechanism analogous to a thermostat.[2] Born in Paris, he was also awarded several other honours and distinctions, among them the Légion d'honneur. Monod (along with François Jacob) is famous for his work on the Lac operon. Study of the control of expression of genes in the Lac operon provided the first example of a transcriptional regulation system. He also suggested the existence of mRNA molecules that link the information encoded in DNA and proteins. Monod is widely regarded as one of the founders of molecular biology.[3][4]


Personal life

Monod was born in Paris to an American mother from Milwaukee, Charlotte (Sharlie) MacGregor Todd, and a French Huguenot father, Lucien Monod who was a painter and inspired him artistically and intellectually.[5][6] He attended the lycée at Cannes until he was 18.[5] In October 1928 he started his studies in biology at the Sorbonne.[5]

Professional life

In his studies he discovered that the course work was decades behind the current biological science. He learned from other students a little older than himself, rather than from the faculty. "To George Teissier he owes a preference for quantitative descriptions; André Lwoff initiated him into the potentials of microbiology; to Boris Ephrussi he owes the discovery of physiological genetics, and to Louis Rapkine the concept that only chemical and molecular descriptions could provide a complete interpretation of the function of living organisms."[6]

Monod also made important contributions to the field of enzymology with his proposed theory of allostery in 1965 with Jeffries Wyman (1901-1995) and Jean-Pierre Changeux.[7] His doctoral work explored the growth of bacteria on mixtures of sugars and documented the sequential utilization of two or more sugars. He coined the term diauxie to denote the frequent observations of two distinct growth phases of bacteria grown on two sugars. He theorized on the growth of bacterial cultures and promoted the chemostat theory as a powerful continuous culture system to investigate bacterial physiology (1949, Ann. Rev. Microbiol., 3:371-394; 1950, Ann. Inst. Pasteur., 79:390-410).

The experimental system used by Jacob and Monod was a common bacterium, E. coli, but the basic regulatory concept (described in the Lac operon article) that was discovered by Jacob and Monod is fundamental to cellular regulation for all organisms. The key idea is that E. coli does not bother to waste energy making such enzymes if there is no need to metabolize lactose, such as when other sugars like glucose are available. The type of regulation is called negative gene regulation, as the operon is inactivated by a protein complex that is removed in the presence of lactose (regulatory induction).

He was also a proponent of the view that life on earth arose by freak chemical accident and was unlikely to be duplicated even in the vast universe. "Man at last knows he is alone in the unfeeling immensity of the universe, out of which he has emerged only by chance," he wrote in 1971. He used this bleak assessment as a springboard to argue for atheism and the absurdity and pointlessness of existence. Monod believed we are merely chemical extras in a majestic but impersonal cosmic drama—an irrelevant, unintended sideshow.

Monod was not only a biologist but also a fine musician and esteemed writer on the philosophy of science. He was a political activist and chief of staff of operations for the Forces Françaises de l'Interieur during World War II. In preparation for the Allied landings, he arranged parachute drops of weapons, railroad bombings, and mail interceptions.

Jacques Monod died in 1976 and was buried in the Cimetière du Grand Jas in Cannes on the French Riviera.



  • "The first scientific postulate is the objectivity of nature: nature does not have any intention or goal."[citation needed]
  • "Anything found to be true of E. coli must also be true of elephants."[8]


  1. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1965 François Jacob, André Lwoff, Jacques Monod". Nobelprize.org. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1965/index.html. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  2. ^ Prial, Frank J. (June 1, 1976). "Jacques Monod, Nobel Biologist, Dies; Thought Existence Is Based on Chance". The New York Times (nytimes.com). http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0209.html. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  3. ^ Ullmann, Agnès (2003). Origins of molecular biology: a tribute to Jacques Monod. ASM Press. p. xiv. ISBN 1555812813. http://books.google.com/?id=qE70pFioH8gC&printsec=frontcover&dq=isbn=1555812813&cd=1#v=snippet&q=molecular%20biology. 
  4. ^ Stanier, R. (1977). "Jacques Monod, 1910-1976". Journal of general microbiology 101 (1): 1–12. PMID 330816.  edit
  5. ^ a b c Lwoff, A. M. (1977). "Jacques Lucien Monod. 9 February 1910 -- 31 May 1976". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 23: 384–412. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1977.0015.  edit
  6. ^ a b "Jacques Monod – Biography". Nobelprize.org. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1965/monod.html. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  7. ^ Monod, J.; Wyman, J.; Changeux, J. P. (1965). "On the Nature of Allosteric Transitions: A Plausible Model". Journal of molecular biology 12: 88–118. doi:10.1016/S0022-2836(65)80285-6. PMID 14343300.  edit
  8. ^ Friedmann, Herbert Claus (2004). "From Butyribacterium to E. coli : An Essay on Unity" in Biochemistry
 Perspectives in Biology and Medicine - Volume 47, Number 1, Winter 2004, pp. 47-66.

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  • Jacques Monod — ist der Name folgender Personen: Jacques Monod (Biologe) (1910–1976), französischer Biochemiker, Genforscher und Nobelpreisträger Jacques Monod (Schauspieler) (1918–1985), französischer Schauspieler Jacques Louis Monod (* 1927), französischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jacques Monod — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Monod. Jacques Monod Naissance 9 février 1910 Paris (France) Décès 31 mai 1976 Cannes …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jacques Monod (biologiste) — Jacques Monod Pour les articles homonymes?, voir Monod. Jacques Monod Naissance 9  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jacques monod (acteur) — Pour les articles homonymes?, voir Monod. Jacques Monod Nom de naissance Monod Naissance 21 août 1918 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jacques Monod (Biologe) — Jacques Lucien Monod (* 9. Februar 1910 in Paris; † 31. Mai 1976 in Cannes) war ein französischer Biochemiker. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Ehrungen 3 Schriften …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jacques Monod (Schauspieler) — Jacques Monod (* 21. August 1918 in Casablanca; † 25. Dezember 1985 in Paris) war ein französischer Schauspieler. Jacques Monod wuchs in Casablanca, Paris und Poitiers auf. Nach dem Abitur absolvierte er eine Ausbildung zum Schauspieler. Seine… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jacques Monod (acteur) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Monod. Jacques Monod Données clés Nom de naissance Monod Naissance 21 août 1918 Casablanca Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jacques Monod (homonymie) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Monod.  Cette page d’homonymie répertorie différentes personnes partageant un même nom. Jacques Monod (1910 1976), biologiste français ayant reçu un prix Nobel. Jacques Monod (1918 1985), acteur français …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jacques Monod — noun French biochemist who (with Francois Jacob) explained how genes are activated and suggested the existence of messenger RNA (1910 1976) • Syn: ↑Monod, ↑Jacques Lucien Monod • Instance Hypernyms: ↑biochemist …   Useful english dictionary

  • Gare de Jacques-Monod-la-Demi-Lieue — Jacques Monod la Demi Lieue Localisation Pays  France …   Wikipédia en Français

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