Messing made contributions that underpin the modern fields of genetics, genomics and evolutionary biology, according to Rutgers University. He discovered a way to crack the genetic code of humans and plants such as rice, corn and wheat.
Messing did not patent his work. Instead, he gave away the tools he invented to scientists worldwide because he believed it was vital for future research. His decision enabled his colleagues to further decipher the genetic blueprint of living cells, revolutionizing medicine, agriculture and basic sciences.
“Dr. Messing was an inspiration to many of his peers and students. While serving as a mentor and consistently encouraging his team to strive to do the impossible, he also took time to celebrate milestones big and small. Birthday celebrations were his favorite, with his team fondly noting Dr. Messing would often sing with the most enthusiasm,” said Rutgers University–New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy.