Nobel Prize in chemistry awarded to 'power of evolution'

Nobel Prize in chemistry goes to three scientists who harnessed ‘the power of evolution’

Research that engendered new therapies was also recognized with the Nobel for medicine earlier this week when two scientists, James Allison of the us and Tasuku Honjo of Japan, won the award for work in immune oncology.

"This year's Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have been inspired by the power of evolution and used the same principles - genetic change and selection - to develop proteins that solve mankind's chemical problems", read the organization's statement.

Arnold flew back to California for a news conference at Caltech, which she called a "jewel of an institution" where she was always "pushed to do her best and do things other people couldn't do".

Researchers have learned to use the process of evolution to develop new forms of molecules that are used to manufacture everything from biofuels to pharmaceuticals, such as Humira, which sold about $18 billion previous year.

Arnold is the first Princeton alumna (female graduate of either the undergraduate program or the Graduate School) to win a Nobel Prize, and the second woman associated with the University to win a Nobel Prize; the first was Toni Morrison, Princeton's Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emerita, who won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Smith, 77, developed a method to evolve new proteins and Winter used the method to evolve antibodies, which are disease-fighting proteins in the blood. Phage display has produced antibodies that can neutralize toxins, counteract autoimmune diseases and even cure metastatic cancer.

The academy says, in recent years, the phage display method has created antibodies able to do a wide number of health-related tasks. The genes are then inserted into bacteria, which then act as the manufacturing machines and produce randomly mutated enzymes.

Prof. Allison, who shares the Nobel with Tasuku Honjo of Japan, had in March this year received the King Faisal Prize for Medicine from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.

She's the fifth woman to receive the chemistry prize, and follows Ada E Yonath in 2009, according to The Guardian.

"A standard prank in science, your friends take on a fake Swedish accent and call you up at 4:30 in the morning, this is the Swedish Royal Academy of Science, you won", said Dr. Smith.

Techniques for directed evolution have improved since then and Arnold has been at the leading edge, the academy said.

Arnold told the Princeton Alumni Weekly in 2014 that her methodology had initially been viewed skeptically by "gentleman scientists", but she told herself, "I'm not a gentleman and I'm not a scientist" - she still identifies as an engineer - "so I didn't mind". Smith is a professor emeritus of biological sciences at the University of Missouri. These enzymes can be used in chemical processes that produce medicines. Virtually all of them build on what went on before. "It's happenstance. That was certainly the case with my work", he said.

James Allison of the United States and Tasuku Honjo of Japan jointly won the 2018Nobel Prize in Medicine on October 1, for developing a pioneering therapeutic approach for cancer treatment.

Meanwhile, scientists from the United States, Canada and France shared the physics prize on Tuesday.

Scientists have been applauding the winners of the Nobel chemistry prize, saying that that it highlights the practical role chemistry plays in our daily lives.



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