Cellular Basics

Structures Inside Cells

Who discovered lysosomes?

Lysosomes are a relatively modern discovery in cell biology; they were observed by British cytologist and biochemist Christian de Duve (1917–2013) in the early 1950s. In 1955, after six years of experiments, de Duve was convinced that he had found an organelle that had not been previously described and was involved in intracellular digestion (lysis)—he named the organelle a lysosome. This organelle was the first to be described entirely on biochemical criteria; the results were later verified using electron microscopy. In 1974, de Duve, Belgian biologist Albert Claude (1898–1983), and Romanian cell biologist George Palade (1912–2008) shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work detailing the functions of the lysosome.


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