Researchers honored for work on how cells fix damaged genetic material
From left: Francis Crick Institute; Max Englund/UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine; Courtesy of Duke University
Identifying the molecular repair kits that cells use to fix damaged DNA has won three scientists the 2015 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Tomas Lindahl of the Francis Crick Institute in England, Paul Modrich, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Duke University School of Medicine, and Aziz Sancar of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine uncovered three tools for correcting errors in the genetic blueprints of living cells.
Together, the scientists hammered out molecular details of the gadgets “that help to guard the integrity of our genes,” said molecular biologist Claes Gustafsson, a member of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, at a news conference announcing the prize.
Without a way to repair it, DNA damage would build up and trigger several diseases, including cancer. Scientists now have a good idea of how cells’ repair kits work and the roles they play in other processes such as aging. Lindahl, Modrich and Sancar’s early