American Wins Chemistry Nobel for DNA Work
The 2006 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry is Stanford biologist Roger Kornberg, who discovered how cells read genetic information encoded in DNA. Kornberg is the second in his family to win the prize. His father Arthur won the 1959 Nobel Prize in medicine for his own work on DNA. The two are the sixth father-son duo to win Nobel Prizes since the prize's inception in 1901.
Kornberg created the first detailed description of DNA transcription, the process which transfers genetic information stored in DNA to proteins in the body. DNA can be subdivded into genes, which encode specialized proteins that perform specific functions in a cell. Through transcription and translation, cells can read the genetic information from the DNA and produce the amino acids that make up proteins.
Kornberg created the first detailed pictures of how this process works at the cellular level. His images shed light on one of the most important chemical reactions in the human body. He will receive the prize, worth $1.4 million, in Stockholm later this year.
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