Margarita Salas, pioneer in genetic research, dies

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Margarita Salas, One of the great references of Spanish science, died Thursday in Madrid at age 80. The Spanish biochemist, disciple of the Nobel Prize winner Severo Ochoa, stood out as one of the professionals who introduced the research in Molecular Genetic in Spain in 1967. In the social sphere, the researcher also emerged as a reference in the claims of the scientific group by claiming more funds for basic research and a greater role of women in science.

The Higher Center for Scientific Research (CSIC), an institution in which biochemistry developed some of the most important milestones of his career, has confirmed the news by recalling Salas as "one of the major Spanish scientists of the twentieth century "." Margarita Salas, one of the most brilliant Spanish scientists in history, has left us. A pioneer woman, key in the great advances of biochemistry and molecular biology that have led to the progress of humanity ", the minister has commented of Science Pedro Duque.

Scientific reference

Margarita Salas, born in Canero (Asturias) in 1938, worked for three years with the Nobel Prize for biochemistry Severo Ochoa at the University of New York and, after returning to Spain, founded the CSIC on first research group in molecular genetics of the country. In it he achieved one of the most important discoveries of his career, thanks to which you can analyze DNA samples in a simple, fast and reliable way. Currently, this finding is used in areas such as forensic medicine, oncology and archeology, among others. This technique allows, for example, to expand small populations of cells that could lead to tumors for further study.

The discovery developed by Salas also stands out as one of the CSIC's most profitable patents. Between 2003 and 2009, the application of this biochemical tool represented more than half of the copyright from the scientific institution for a total of more than six million euros. Throughout his career, Salas achieved more than 350 publications in scientific journals, 400 conferences and a total of eight patents.

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This prolific career earned the researcher the European Inventor Award 2019 from the European Patent Office, delivered in June this year. "I would ask the Government to believe that science is important for the development of the country," said Salas after receiving that award for his career. In her award speech, the scientist emphasized the precarious situation of researchers in Spain. Salas lamented, among others, that with the current financing it is not possible for the numerous investigators who went abroad due to the crisis to return. "If funding does not increase, we cannot bring anyone, unfortunately," he summarized.

. (tagsToTranslate) CSIC (Higher Council for Scientific Research) (t) Genetics

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