Three scientists share 2015 Chemistry Nobel Prize for DNA repair research

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Artist's rendition of damaged DNA being repaired.
Image: Tom Ellenberger.

Yesterday, Göran K. Hansson, permanent secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, announced this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded to three scientists for their work on DNA repair.

Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar showed how damaged DNA is repaired and genetic information is safeguarded by the cells at the molecular level.

Swedish scientist Tomas Lindahl found that DNA molecules decay too quickly for life, or evolution, to be sustainable. This led to the discovery of base excision repair, a cellular mechanism that repairs damaged DNA by removing erroneous sections and replacing them.

Turkish molecular biologist Aziz Sancar mapped nucleotide excision repair, a DNA repair mechanism that targets larger-scale damage caused by mutagens and ultraviolet radiation.

US professor of biochemistry Paul Modrich showed how errors caused during DNA replication are usually rectified. DNA mismatch repair increases the precision of DNA replication when cells divide.

The prize is shared 1/3rd to each scientist.

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