Issue Date: October 8, 2007
Award Honors Genetic Manipulation Methods
The 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to three researchers for their discovery of principles associated with the use of embryonic stem cells to introduce specific gene modifications into mice.
The $1.5 million prize will be shared by Mario R. Capecchi, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of human genetics and biology at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City; Martin J. Evans, professor of mammalian genetics at Cardiff University, in Wales; and Oliver Smithies, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
The "gene targeting" technique developed by the researchers uses embryonic stem cells to inactivate single genes in specific cells or organs. With this approach, "it is now possible to produce almost any type of DNA modification in the mouse genome, allowing scientists to establish the roles of individual genes in health and disease," according to the Nobel Foundation. "Gene targeting has already produced more than 500 different mouse models of human disorders, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, and cancer." The foundation adds that gene targeting "is now being applied to virtually all areas of biomedicine, from basic research to the development of new therapies."
The researchers ??will receive their awards at a ceremony in Stockholm in December.
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