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Two AAAS Members Awarded 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 was awarded jointly to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar \for having mapped, at a molecular level, how cells repair damaged DNA and safeguard the genetic information. Their work has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions and is, for instance, used for the development of new cancer treatments, according to the official annoucement on the Nobel website. Both Lindahl and Modrich are members of AAAS. Modrich became a AAAS Fellow in 1998.

Lindahl, of Francis Crick Institute and Clare Hall Laboratory, United Kingdom, "demonstrated that DNA decays at a rate that ought to have made the development of life on Earth impossible. This insight led him to discover a molecular machinery, base excision repair, which constantly counteracts the collapse of our DNA." Modrich, of Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University School of Medicine, "demonstrated how the cell corrects errors that occur when DNA is replicated during cell division. This mechanism, mismatch repair, reduces the error frequency during DNA replication by about a thousandfold. Congenital defects in mismatch repair are known, for example, to cause a hereditary variant of colon cancer. "Sancar, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, "has mapped nucleotide excision repair, the mechanism that cells use to repair UV damage to DNA. People born with defects in this repair system will develop skin cancer if they are exposed to sunlight. The cell also utilises nucleotide excision repair to correct defects caused by mutagenic substances, among other things."

Congratulations to all three scientists!

Read Modrich's biography here. | Read Lindahl's biography here.

AAAS: Winners of 2015 Nobel Prize Include Members of AAAS Community