The eccentric scientist behind the ‘gold standard’ COVID-19 test
Bombastic biochemist Kary Mullis invented PCR, a tool that redefined genetic science, while driving in 1983. That was only the beginning.
Biochemist Kary Mullis says he was driving from the Bay Area to his cabin in Mendocino in 1983 when suddenly, like a bolt of lightning out of the California sky, he came up with a way to pinpoint a particular stretch of DNA and synthesize an enormous amount of copies.
“The simple technique would make as many copies as I wanted of any DNA sequence I chose, and everybody on Earth who cared about DNA would want to use it,” Mullis recounts in his colorfully titled 1998 memoir Dancing Naked in the Mind Field. “It would spread into every biology lab in the world. I would be famous. I would get the Nobel Prize.”
Mullis did indeed win