Nobel For Telomeres

By Carl Zimmer | October 5, 2009 8:22 am

Screen shot 2009-10-05 at 8.20.29 AMCongratulations to Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider, and Jack Szostak, who just won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine this morning. They won for their discovery of telomeres, the caps on the ends of chromosomes that keep them from degrading and ward off aging. The Nobel site has posted some useful information about why this was such a profound discovery.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: General, Medicine

Comments (4)

  1. John Monfries

    Parochial point – Blackburn is Australian, so the Australian press is all over it, one of the rare times science reaches the front page here.

    She has spent virtually all her professional life in the US and is a dual citizen, but what the heck. We don’t have too many Nobel laureates to go around; Blackburn makes a grand total of four living ones. Not nearly as feted or as recognised as the sportsmen and sportswomen, needless to say.

  2. Coincidentally, I wrote an blog post about telomeres as evidence against ID a couple of days ago, and updated it today to reflect the news. IDers are claiming telomeres as evidence for ID. As usual, they don’t know what they’re talking about. Telomeres are a crude hack that evolution cobbled up to cover up for deeper failings in DNA replication. Bacteria have a much simpler fix.

  3. Lance

    Not to be a stickler, but the prize was given not just for “telomeres” (i.e., the DNA at the ends of linear chromosomes) but also for the identification of telomerase, the enzyme that restores and thereby maintains telomeric DNA.

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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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