Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was announced this morning and relates to what we have been discussing in class lately. The prize was shared by three men all involved in the discovery and use of a protein that glows.

In the 1960s Osamu Shimomura gathered jellyfish and isolated a protein that makes them glow when exposed to ultraviolet light. Decades later Martin Chalfie and co-workers put the gene for this protein into a small round worm called C. elegans. This allowed them to track the protein and cell activity in the worm, and since then Roger Tsien changed some amino acids in the protein to make it glow different colors. Inserting genetically engineered proteins that glow into cells allows medical researchers to watch the spread of cancers, and the development of other disease. So, the glowing protein from a jellyfish turns out to have very practical uses in medicine and biological research.

Read more here

See a slide show here

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