(WASHINGTON POST) Rachel Feltman — Their work helps researchers understand how our DNA fights off daily mutations — and how it sometimes fails.
On Wednesday, the Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to Tomas Lindahlof the Francis Crick Institute and Clare Hall Laboratory in Britain, Paul Modrich of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University School of Medicine, and Aziz Sancar of the University of North Carolina.
The three men are honored for their work on the mechanisms of DNA repair, which could lead to therapies for everything from cancer to old age.
“The genetic information that governs how human beings are shaped has flowed through our bodies for hundreds of thousands of years,” the Nobel committee wrote in a statement. “It is constantly subjected to assaults from the environment, yet it remains surprisingly intact. Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar are awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 for having mapped and explained how the cell repairs its DNA and safeguards the genetic information.”
Our genetic information is remarkably resilient. Starting with a single cell, containing just a few feet worth of DNA, our genetic material copies itself over and over again until there’s enough of it to travel to the sun and back some 250 times. If you stretched it all out, that is.