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Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to Frances Arnold, George Smith, Gregory Winter for 'Power of Evolution'

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Nabanita Chakorborty | Updated on: 03 Oct 2018, 05:53:31 PM
Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to 3 Scientists (Photo Source: Twitter)

New Delhi:

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Wednesday decided to honour US scientists Frances Arnold, George Smith and British researcher Gregory Winter with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018.

The 9-million-kronor ($1.01 million) prize, which can be shared by as many as three people, will be awarded to the trio for applying the principles of evolution to develop enzymes used to make everything from biofuels to pharmaceuticals.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences will award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018 with one half to Frances H. Arnold and the other half jointly to George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter, the jury said.

Read | Donna Strickland becomes first woman Physics Nobel winner in 55 years

"They have applied the principles of Darwin in test tubes. They have used the molecular understanding we have of the evolutionary process and recreated the process in their labs," Claes Gustafsson, the head of the Academy's Nobel Chemistry committee, was quoted by AFP as saying.

"They have been able to make evolution many 1000s of times faster and redirect it to create new proteins," Gustafsson added.

On a related note, Frances Arnold, 62, who is a professor of chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, is the fifth woman to bag the Nobel Chemistry Prize till the date. Her significant contribution in the field of Chemistry has solved problems such as replacing toxic chemicals like fossil fuels.

Smith, 67, who is serving at the University of Missouri, and Winter from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge, on the other hand, developed an "elegant method" named phage display, where a bacteriophage, a virus that infects bacteria can be used to evolve new proteins, according to the jury.

The commendable work of the trio in the arena of Chemistry and medicine has discovered Pharmaceuticals for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel diseases, as well as anti-bodies that can neutralise toxins, counteract autoimmune diseases and cure metastatic cancer.

Read | Amputated Nobel season opens without Literature Prize

Early on Tuesday, the Nobel Prize for Physics went to Gérard Mourou, Arthur Ashkin and Donna Strickland for discoveries in phenomena as enormous as The Big Bang and as tiny as single particles of light.

On Monday, American James Allison and Japan's Tasuku Honjo won the Nobel medicine prize for ground-breaking work in fighting cancer with the body's own immune system.

The Nobel peace prize will be announced on Friday followed by the he economics prize, which is not technically a Nobel on October 8.

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First Published : 03 Oct 2018, 05:33:38 PM