New Insights into DNA Bring Nobel in Chemistry ; 3 Laureates Share Honor for Explaining How Cells Repair and Safeguard Data

By Overbye, Dennis | International New York Times, October 8, 2015 | Go to article overview

New Insights into DNA Bring Nobel in Chemistry ; 3 Laureates Share Honor for Explaining How Cells Repair and Safeguard Data


Overbye, Dennis, International New York Times


The three Nobels announced this week reflect the globalization of science, which in the last century the United States often dominated.

Tomas Lindahl, Paul L. Modrich and Aziz Sancar were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Wednesday for having mapped and explained how the cell repairs its DNA and safeguards its genetic information.

Dr. Lindahl, of the Francis Crick Institute in London, was honored for his discoveries on base excision repair -- the cellular mechanism that repairs damaged DNA during the cell cycle. Dr. Modrich, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University School of Medicine, was recognized for showing how cells correct errors that occur when DNA is replicated during cell division. Dr. Sancar, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was cited for mapping the mechanism cells use to repair ultraviolet damage to DNA.

"Their systematic work has made a decisive contribution to the understanding of how the living cell functions, as well as providing knowledge about the molecular causes of several hereditary diseases and about mechanisms behind both cancer development and aging," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awarded the prize, said in a statement.

They shared the prize of 8 million Swedish kronor, or about $960,000. The prize was announced in Stockholm by Goran K. Hansson, the academy's permanent secretary.

The three recipients joined the 169 laureates, including Ernest Rutherford, Marie Curie and Linus Pauling, who have been honored with the prize since 1901. (One of them, Frederick Sanger, won twice.)

This week's three Nobel Prizes reflect the globalization of science, which the United States often dominated in the last century.

The award in medicine or physiology on Monday went to citizens of China and Japan, as well as an American. …

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