Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Jellyfish Protein Scientists Win Nobel Prize

Jellyfish Protein Scientists Win Nobel Prize Reuters
posted: 44 MINUTES AGOcomments: 16filed under: Science NewsPrintShareText SizeAAASTOCKHOLM (Oct 8) - Two Americans and a Japanese researcher won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Wednesday for the discovery of a glowing jellyfish protein that makes cells, tissues and even organs light up -- a tool used by thousands of researchers around the world.
The 10 million Swedish crown -- $1.4 million -- prize recognizes Japanese-born Osamu Shimomura, now of the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts, Martin Chalfie of Columbia University in New York and Roger Tsien of the University of California, San Diego, for their discoveries with green fluorescent protein.

Osamu Shimomura, a Japanese-born scientist who works in Woods Hole, Mass., studies a protein that makes genes glow green along with Roger Y. Tsien of the University of California, San Diego, and Martin Chalfie, of Columbia University.

"We can simply look inside an animal and say where has this gene been turned on, when is it turned on and when the protein is made, where does it go?" Chalfie said in a telephone interview. "They have their own flashlight telling you where they are."
Tsien, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, used coral proteins too, and extended the palette beyond green to yellow, blue and other colors, allowing scientists to follow several different biological processes at the same time.
He said asthma kept him indoors as a child, so he spent hours playing with colors as part of chemistry experiments in his basement.
Tsien said he was grateful for the prize and acknowledged that others in the field could also have been included. "I know only three people could get it and I'm sure the committee had a difficult decision," he said.
Chalfie said he missed the first call from the Nobel committee: "I looked on the computer, my laptop, and I found that I had won the prize. I slept through the phone call."
GFP has been used for art as well as for science. A green-glowing bunny named Alba was made in 2000 at the request of Chicago artist Eduardo Kac and green-glowing pigs have been gene engineered and bred to make green-glowing piglets.
As Nobel chemistry laureates, the three researchers join the ranks of some of the greatest names in science, such as Marie Curie, who also won a physics Nobel, and Linus Pauling, the scientist and renowned peace activist who won the prize in 1954.
The prizes were established in the will of 19th century dynamite tycoon Alfred Nobel and have been awarded since 1901.
The laureate for literature will be unveiled on Thursday, followed by the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday and the economics award on Monday.
Additional reporting by Adam Cox, Elinor Schang and Simon Johnson in Stockholm, Michael Kahn in London, Tan Ee Lyn in Hong Kong, Ellen Wulfhorst in New York and Maggie Fox in Washington; Writing by Maggie Fox; Editing by Doina Chiacu
Copyright 2008, Reuters
2008-10-08 09:36:39

No comments: