Americans Andrew Fire and Craig Mello won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine Monday for discovering a powerful way to turn off the effect of specific genes, opening a new avenue for disease treatment.
"RNA interference" is already being widely used in basic science as a method to study the function of genes and it is being studied as a treatment for infections such as the AIDS and hepatitis viruses and for other conditions, including heart disease and cancer.
Fire, 47, of Stanford University, and Mello, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, published their seminal work in 1998.
"Science is a group effort. Please recognize that the recent progress in the field of RNA-based gene silencing has involved original scientific inquiry from research groups around the world," [Fire] said in a statement released by the Washington-based Carnegie Institution.
Well put. On the Nobel Prize website there's also a link to an interesting and comprehensible narration of the flow of our genetic information, explaining how an intricate chain of molecules only 1/1000000000 meters thick gave you your 10 fingers, your 2 ears, and your smile.
UPDATE: I missed the most important part: Andrew Fire, the Stanfurd University geneticist who took the prize, is a Golden Bear at heart!