Cambridge University chemists – Professor Shankar Balasubramanian and Professor David Klenerman won the 2020 Millennium Technology Prize for the development of revolutionary DNA sequencing techniques – Next Generation DNA Sequencing (NGS). The award is presented by the Technology Academy Finland (TAF).
- Shankar Balasubramanian and David Klenerman jointly invented the Solexa-Illumina Next Generation DNA Sequencing (NGS), which enables fast, accurate, low cost and large scale genome sequencing.
- Sauli Niinisto, President of the Republic of Finland and the Patron of the prize presented the award over a virtual ceremony.
The 2020 award marks the first time where the award is presented to more than one recipient for the same innovation.
About the Millennium Technology Prize:
i.The Millennium Technology Prize was instituted by the TAF in 2004 which is awarded at an interval of 2 years.
ii.The award highlights the extensive impact of science and innovation on the wellbeing of society. The award carries a cash prize of 1 million euro (around Rs. 8.9 crores).
iii.Sir Tim Berners-Lee received the award in 2004 for his discovery of the World Wide Web.
About Shankar Balasubramanian & David Klenerman:
i.Shankar Balasubramanian is an India-born British professor of medicinal chemistry and David Klenerman is a British biophysical chemist.
ii.They are the co-founders of the company – ‘Solexa’, to make technology more broadly available to the world.
i.The method of NGS involves fragmenting sample DNA into many small pieces that are immobilised on the surface of a chip and locally amplified.
ii.Using the NGS technology, the human genome can be sequenced in one day at a cost of 1000 USD.
iii.This also provides a better and quick understanding of the diseases.
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About Technology Academy Finland (TAF):
CEO– Markku Ellilä
Headquarters– Espoo, Finland