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Elizabeth B. Keller, a biochemist who made the mysteries of genetics easier to understand by developing a universal model, has died.

Ms. Keller died Saturday in Strong Memorial Hospital from complications associated with acute leukemia. She was 79.

Part of a research project that eventually won the Nobel Prize, Ms. Keller's famed cloverleaf model illustrated the work of transfer RNA, which helps control how the genetic information in DNA is translated into the building of proteins.

Ms. Keller's model was revolutionary in the late 1960s, and it is still used in biology textbooks across the country.

According to lore at Cornell, where she worked from 1965 until close to her death, the model was sent to a colleague, Dr. Robert Holley, in a Christmas card. The model later was published by Holley as part of a larger set of work that won him a share of the Nobel Prize in 1968 for unraveling the genetic code of RNA.

Holley gave some of the prize money to Ms. Keller and others on the research team at Cornell.

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