Thursday, October 16, 2008

Green Glowing Jellyfish Earns Nobel Prize

Well, not the actual jellyfish won but the work done in the lab on said jellyfish. Research into the mysterious green glow of a jellyfish earned three scientists this year's Nobel Prize for Chemistry, the Nobel Foundation announced Oct 8th - and yes, I'm a tad behind in mentioning all of this.

However, it is noteworthy to mention that Osamu Shimomura of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts; Martin Chalfie of Columbia University; and Roger Tsien of the University of California at San Diego won for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein GFP. An each will take a third of the prize.

GFP was first observed in 1962, in the crystal jellyfish which drifts with the currents off the west coast of North America. Since then, the protein has become one of the most important tools in contemporary bioscience, the foundation said. Using GFP, researchers have developed ways to watch processes that were previously invisible, like the development of nerve cells or how cancer cells spread.

Osamu Shimomura, a Japanese citizen, was the first to isolate GFP from the crystal jellyfish, discovering that the protein glowed bright green under ultraviolet light. American scientist Martin Chalfie demonstrated GFP's value as a luminous genetic tag in nature. One of Chalfie'sGFP to color individual cells in a transparent roundworm. Roger Tsien, also an American, extended the color palette beyond green. Researchers can now give various proteins and cells different colors, enabling them to follow different biological processes at the same time, the foundation said.

Congratulations, gentleman!


Sources: The Nobel Prize Committee

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