Chemistry Nobel honors studies of DNA repair mechanisms | Science News

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.



Science Ticker

A roundup of research
and breaking news

Science News Staff
Science Ticker

Chemistry Nobel honors studies of DNA repair mechanisms

dna ligase

Specialized proteins (blue and yellow) can repair damaged DNA. The 2015 Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three researchers who determined how the cell works to protect genetic material in the face of environmental damages or DNA-copying errors.

Sponsor Message

Studies of DNA’s repair mechanisms have won Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar the 2015 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

DNA encodes the instructions for building and conducting life. But it’s a fragile molecule that can be altered or damaged by sunlight, toxic chemicals, radiation or even normal chemical reactions inside the cell.

Lindahl, of the Francis Crick Institute in England, determined that DNA isn’t actually very stable: It can fall apart on its own, without injury. He described how a cell can remove and replace damaged genetic building blocks.

Sometimes, the cell makes mistakes while copying DNA. Modrich’s work revealed how a cell can correct these genetic errors by replacing DNA’s individual constituents. Modrich is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Duke University. 

Sancar, of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, uncovered which proteins are responsible for patching DNA up after ultraviolet damage, and how they work.

A more detailed story about the prize-winning research will follow later today.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More on Nobels 2015

From the Nature Index Paid Content