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Chemistry Nobel awarded for groundbreaking research on proteins

03 October 2018

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences says the three researchers who were awarded this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry "harnessed the power of evolution" to develop enzymes and antibodies that have led to new pharmaceuticals and biofuels.

Three scientists - two from the US and one from Britain - share the 2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry on Wednesday for harnessing the power of evolution to produce novel proteins used in everything from environmentally friendly detergents and biofuels to cancer drugs. The newest Nobel laureates, it added, had "recreated the process in their test tubes. and make evolution many times faster". More environmentally friendly chemical substances are being developed, improving everyday products such as laundry and dishwashing detergents to enhance their performance in cold temperatures.

Every living organism on this planet is a sculpture of evolution.

In 1993, Arnold was the first to conduct the directed evolution of enzymes - proteins that cause or push forward reactions. "Since then, she has refined the methods that are now routinely used to develop new catalysts", said the release.

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"Instead of pumping oil out of the ground for making gasoline, now we can use sunlight stored in plants.". "My hat's off to Smith, Winter, and Arnold for their contributions to this multidisciplinary field that beautifully integrates chemistry, molecular biology, and protein science".

The first pharmaceutical based on Winter's work was approved for use in 2002 and is employed to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel diseases, the academy said.

"The discoveries by George Smith and Greg Winter are having an enormous impact, particularly on medicine with antibody drugs that have fewer side effects and are more efficient", Dr Goran Hansson, the head of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, told reporters.

Dr Arnold, Dr Smith and Dr Winter will receive their prize from Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on Dec 10, the anniversary of Mr Nobel's 1896 death.

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Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson were jointly awarded for developing a new way to assemble precise three-dimensional images of biological molecules like proteins, DNA and RNA. This year's Nobel Prize in Literature has been postponed.

Scientists from the United States, Canada and France shared the physics prize Tuesday for revolutionizing the use of lasers in research.

The prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were created and funded in the will of Swedish dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel and have been awarded since 1901.

For the first time in decades, the Nobel line-up did not feature a literature award after a rift within the Swedish Academy over a rape scandal involving the husband of a board member left it unable to select a victor.

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