Designer Mice Pioneers win Nobel Prize for Medicine
- They tracked the role of genes.
- Three researchers who pioneered the creation of “designer mice” to track the role of different genes in human development and disease have won the 2007 Nobel medicine prize, Sweden’s Karolin – ska Institute said on Monday.
- The 10 million Swedish crown ( $1.54 million ) prize recognized Mario Capecchi, Martin Evans and Oliver Smithies for helping discover “the roles of numerous genes in embryonic development, adult Physiology, aging and disease”.
- In 2001, the three took the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, seen as the US version of the Nobel since many of its recipients have gone on to become Nobel Laureates.
- Italian – born Dr.Capecchi is a US citizen, as is Dr.Smithies. Both Dr.Evans, who was knighted for his contributions to science and Dr. Smithies are British – born.
- The prize awarders said the discoveries made by the three have led to a new branch of medicine known as gene targeting turning mice genes on and off to determine their effect on diseases and physiological development.
- Dr.Capecchi and Dr. Smithies’ research showed genes can be targeted, modified and repaired if defective. Dr.Evans offered the means for achieving this by isolating embryonic stem cells in mice, which give rise to all the cells in the body.
- Their work led to breakthrough revelations on the development of organs, the causes of some human birth defects along with models for diseases such as cystic fibrosis, hypertension and atherosclerosis.
- Dr.Capecchi, born in Verona in 1937, received his PhD in 1967 from Harvard. He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics and Biology at the University of Utah in the United States.
- Dr.Evans, born in 1941, received a PhD in anatomy and embryology in 1969 from University College, London. He is director of the School of Bio-sciences and Professor of Mammalian Genetics at Cardiff University in Britain.
- Dr.Smithies, born in 1925, received his doctorate in biochemistry in 1951 from Oxford. He is the Excellence Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of North Carolina in the US.
- Medicine is traditionally the first of the Nobels handed out each year. The prizes for achievement in Science, Literature and peace are now to be announced Reuters.
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