2002 Award Recipients
AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize
The 2002 Newcomb Cleveland Prize is awarded to the following authors:
These three papers reveal the completely unexpected and unprecedented abundance of ultra-small RNAs, christened micro-RNAs or “miRNAs.” Two members of the class, lin-4 and let-7, have previously been shown to control gene expression by inhibiting the function of their respective target messenger RNA at the translational level. The new miRNAs, over 50 characterized in C.elegans alone with the prediction that there are several hundred in that organism, are expressed in many different patterns, suggesting they affect gene regulation in a wide variety of developmental and tissue-specific contexts. The implication that the enzyme Dicer is involved in their synthesis from long precursor RNAs links miRNAs with the phenomenon of RNA interference, which is also involved in gene silencing.
These three outstanding contributions have written a new chapter in our understanding of gene control: in the words of one of our evaluators, they constitute arguably the most significant biomedical research papers published in 2001.