Nobel Prize Season Opens—Physiology Prize to Creators of Designer Mice

|

The Nobel Committee announced today that the Prize in physiology goes to three researchers–U.S. citizens Mario R. Capecchi and Oliver Smithies and Briton Sir Martin J. Evans–who developed a way to "knock-out" specific genes in mice. This gene targeting technique allows researchers to figure out what each gene does in mammalian bodies. As the Nobel citation notes:

Gene targeting is often used to inactivate single genes. Such gene "knockout" experiments have elucidated the roles of numerous genes in embryonic development, adult physiology, aging and disease. To date, more than 10,000 mouse genes (approximately half of the genes in the mammalian genome) have been knocked out. Ongoing international efforts will make "knockout mice" for all genes available within the near future.

With gene targeting it is now possible to produce almost any type of DNA modification in the mouse genome, allowing scientists to establish the roles of individual genes in health and disease. Gene targeting has already produced more than 500 different mouse models of human disorders, including cardiovascular and neuro-degenerative diseases, diabetes and cancer.

Physiology is the first prize to be announced. Next up is the Nobel Prize for physics on Tuesday; chemistry on Wednesday; literature on Thursday and the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in Oslo. By the way, it is widely rumored that Al Gore is the inside favorite to win the Peace Prize. For more details on the physiology prize, see Reuters report here.

NEXT: Return to the House of Death

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. To torture a few more “awards season” metaphors, the physics, chemistry and physiology prizes are the Oscars equivalent of best picture, lead actor and actress. The literature prize is the interpretive dance. The peace prize is the overlong rant by the lefty darling du jour. There will be lots of parties afterwards. Notable by their absence: China and India.

  2. So, what is it exactly that Al Gore has done to further peace?

    Sorry, I must have missed that part of An Inconvenient Truth

  3. Let’s nip this in the bud: The Nobel Peace Prize doesn’t always go to somebody who advocates peace. In the years it doesn’t go to a person strictly advocating peace, it goes to some sort of sustainable development person, i.e., those are the years when it goes to the lefty darling du jour. List of winners.

  4. why not bono, while they’re at it?

    al gore. dumbass rockstars.

    jesus.

  5. edna,

    Sonny Bono’s dead, I’m afraid.

  6. [Evil grin not available in HTML]

  7. As long as they’re not engineering the SMART SQUIRREL.

    Or the bionic circus clown.

    On Friday in Cleveland, you saw the results of early work – the smart swarm.

  8. Any of the Medicine Prize winners have done more to improve the lot of humanity than the sanctimonious windbags who usually get the Peace Prize.

  9. Any of the Medicine Prize winners have done more to improve the lot of humanity than the sanctimonious windbags who usually get the Peace Prize

    So has the supervisor at the local sewage trearment facility.

  10. Lamar,

    Let’s nip this in the bud: The Nobel Peace Prize doesn’t always go to somebody who advocates peace.

    That’s my point. Looking at the list of previous winners, I’d say that about 25% actually advanced peace. The rest seem to be ceremonial awards.

    It seems the only relevant awards are the science-related ones, and probably because they have a quantifiable level of success.

    I mean, I could probably win the literature one with a poem like this:

    Shit,
    Piss,
    Fuck,
    George Bush Sucks…

  11. I would not use the Peace Prize for toilet paper anymore. Given what they’ve done with it, it would be used toilet paper, anyway.

  12. P.S. Not that I’m defending ol’ Dubya by any means…

  13. That prize was well-deserved. Knock-out mice an an ubiquitous tool in biology these days.

    Here’s rooting for Santa Barbara tomorrow and Wednesday. Since 1998 they’ve won 6 prizes. Time to notch up a few more.

    Come on, Gauchos! Let’s win one!

  14. No mention of the Rush Limbaugh nomination? Wow, I thought this was the fair and balanced free minds site 🙂

  15. speedwell | October 8, 2007, 10:38am | #

    I would not use the Peace Prize for toilet paper anymore. Given what they’ve done with it, it would be used toilet paper, anyway.

    I could, however, use the 10 million Kroner…

    I hereby advocate we surrender to Bin Laden and thereby bring about peace. [Is that good enough? Or do I have to wear a clerical collar while saying it?]

  16. All the prizes are kind of phony.

    Most scientific developments require such a collaborative effort that it seems arbitrary when they give it to a few chosen PIs, when they often act more like managers than the ones doing research.

    Somehow giving Nobel Prizes to fifty people is distasteful even when it better reflects reality.

    When you read about how PCR was developed, its clear that while Mullis was very important, he was only one of many that were needed to take PCR from thought experiment to reality.

    I just look at all the prizes as an interesting news story, as there are no almighty arbiters of science in Sweden just as there are not any regarding peace, literature, or economics.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.