This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to three scientists for using the power of evolution to design molecules with a range of practical uses.
Ro Aram reports.
Half of the award went to California Institute of Technology professor Frances Arnold – the fifth woman to win a chemistry Nobel Prize.
The other half was shared by University of Missouri professor George Smith and British biochemist Gregory Winter.
Arnold was awarded for her work in harnessing the power of evolution to produce enzymes and antibodies used in everything from detergents and biofuels to cancer drugs.
Her research opens up the possibility for more environmentally friendly products.
“Enzymes are, by nature, they are environmental, because they are what all we organisms use to make our chemicals. So if you can harness enzymes, for your own purposes, this is often much more environmentally friendly than using heavy metals or toxic substances to make your chemicals….”
Smith won for a technique called “phage display” which uses a genetically engineered virus that infects bacteria in order to evolve new proteins.
Winter used that method for evolving antibodies with the aim of producing new drugs.
The first drug based on this work is used against rheumatoid arthritis, a skin condition known as psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease.
Meanwhile, scientists from the United States, Canada and France shared the physics prize on Tuesday.
The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is to be announced Friday and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences will be revealed Monday.
No Nobel literature prize will be awarded this year due to a sex abuse scandal at the Swedish Academy, which choses the winner.
Ro Aram, Arirang News.