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Nobel Prize Chemistry 2015 : Cell’s Tool Box for Repairing DNA

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The winners of the Nobel Prize 2015 in chemistry are  Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar.The Nobel prize was awarded “for mechanistic studies of DNA repair”

nobel-prize-for-chemistry 2015

Prize amount: 8 million Swedish krona, to be shared equally between the winners.

Their research mapped and explained how the cell repairs its DNA in order to avoid  errors occurring in genetic information.

Mr. Lindahl demonstrated that DNA decays at a rate that ought to have made the development of life on Earth impossible. This insight led him to discover a molecular machinery, base excision repair, which constantly counteracts the collapse of our DNA.

Mr. Modrich demonstrated how the cell corrects errors that occur when DNA is replicated during cell division. This mechanism, mismatch repair, reduces the error frequency during DNA replication by about a thousandfold. Congenital defects in mismatch repair are known, for example, to cause a hereditary variant of colon cancer.

Mr. Sancar  mapped nucleotide excision repair, the mechanism that cells use to repair UV damage to DNA. People born with defects in this repairs  system will develop skin cancer if they are exposed to sunlight. The cell also utilises nucleotide excision repair to correct defects caused by mutagenic substances, among other thing.

Tomas Lindahl : Born 1938 in Stockholm, Sweden.Swedish citizen.Emeritus group leader at Francis Crick Institute and Emeritus director of Cancer Research UK at Clare Hall Laboratory, Hertfordshire, UK.

Paul Modrich : Born 1946.U.S. Citizen.Investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and James B. Duke Professor of Biochemistry at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA.

Aziz Sancar : Born 1946 in Savur, Turkey.U.S. and Turkish citizen.Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.