Three people jointly received the Nobel Chemistry prize this year for their work in protein research. This research has aided in renewable energy, pharmaceuticals and has even been used to cure metastatic cancer.
Three people jointly received the Nobel Chemistry prize this year.
Professor Frances H. Arnold was awarded half the prize for her work with directed evolution. A method whereby mutated enzymes are introduced to bacteria that then use them as templates to create new mutated enzymes. The enzymes that are most efficient are then selected, new random mutations are introduced and the cycle begins again.
These enzymes have been used in, among other things, the production of renewable energy and pharmaceuticals.
Prof. Arnold was the first to make use of this method in 1993 and it has now become routinely used.
The other half of the Nobel prize is shared between George P. Smith and Gregory P. Winter.
In 1985 George introduced a new method, using a virus that infects bacteria to evolve new proteins and called it Phage display. Gregory then used this method for directed evolution to create new antibodies. Antibodies are protective proteins usually created by the immune system. These antibodies have been used in various ways, for example, to cure metastatic cancer.
The possibilities for the two methods are endless, only time will tell what else could potentially come of this.