Sperm Whale myoglobin, ball and spoke model, c 1972.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Myoglobin is a protein related to haemoglobin, consisting of one polypeptide chain and haem group compared to haemoglobin's four polypeptide chains and haem groups. It is present in large amounts in the muscles of whales and seals, where it acts as an oxygen store during diving. Myoglobin was studied by John Kendrew (1917-1977). Max Perutz (1914-2002) studied haemoglobin. Kendrew produced a rough molecular model in 1957 and a more detailed one in 1959. He and Perutz were awarded the Nobel prize for Chemistry in 1962 'for their studies of the structures of globular proteins'.