Monday, October 8, 2007
NPR.org discusses the winners for the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine:
Two American scientists and a British researcher share this year's Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for devising the tools to figure out what individual genes do and how to fix them.
Mario Capecchi of the University of Utah, Oliver Smithies of the University of North Carolina and Sir Martin Evans of Cardiff University in Wales will share the $1.5 million prize this year.
The Nobel Committee says these scientists laid the groundwork for the main work in biology today: figuring out what each of the 30,000 human genes does. Capecchi invented a way to target single genes and turn them off to see what they do. Smithies used gene targeting to correct defective genes. Evans showed that embryonic stem cells can integrate corrected genes into living animals. Together, these techniques are a big reason why scientists are so excited about the potential for embryonic stem cell research to cure a wide range of human ailments.