The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1978
Born: 3 June 1929, Gränichen, Switzerland
Affiliation at the time of the award: Biozentrum der Universität, Basel, Switzerland
Prize motivation: "for the discovery of restriction enzymes and their application to problems of molecular genetics."
Prize share: 1/3
An organism's genome is stored in the form of long rows of building blocks, known as nucleotides, which form DNA molecules. In the late 1960s, Werner Arber discovered substances known as restriction enzymes, which cut DNA molecules at sites where a certain sequence of nucleotides occurs. The discovery of restriction enzymes opened the way to explaining in which order genes exist on the chromosome, to investigating genes' chemical composition, and to putting DNA together in new combinations.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.