NEWS: Chemistry Nobel for green fluorescent protein

Stockholm, Oct. 8—Green fluorescent protein (GFP) has won its discoverer and early developers the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Osamu Shimomura (Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, and Boston University Medical School, MA), Martin Chalfie (Columbia University, New York, NY) and Roger Y. Tsien (University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA) will share the $1.4 million prize for bringing science the amazingly versatile biological marker.

Shimomura isolated GFP from Aequorea victoria—a jellyfish native to the Pacific coast of North America—and chronicled the protein’s blue-green emissions in response to ultraviolet stimulation.

Chalfie subsequently demonstrated the value of GFP as a luminous genetic tag. In one of his first experiments, he fluorescently labeled six individual cells in Caenorhabditis elegans with the aid of GFP.

Tsien expanded both the general understanding GFP photochemistry and the range of the fluorescent palette, allowing the beautiful and beautifully detailed labeling of biological structures and processes that has become a staple of BioTechniques covers and biology generally.

The Nobel Chemistry Laureates
Osamu Shimomura, Japanese citizen. Born 1928 in Kyoto. Ph.D. in organic chemistry 1960 from Nagoya University, Japan. Professor emeritus at Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole, MA, USA and Boston University Medical School, MA, USA.

Martin Chalfie, US citizen. Born 1947, grew up in Chicago, IL. Ph.D. in neurobiology 1977 from Harvard University. William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, New York, NY, USA, since 1982.

Roger Y. Tsien, US citizen. Born 1952 in New York, NY. Ph.D. in physiology 1977 from Cambridge University, UK. Professor at University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA, since 1989.

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