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The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1978
Born: 30 October 1928, Wilmington, DE, USA
Died: 16 November 1999, Baltimore, MD, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
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. Werner Arber discovered restriction enzymes, which cut DNA molecules at sites where a certain sequence of nucleotides occurs. Daniel Nathans applied this discovery within genetics. Among other applications, Daniel Nathans used different restriction enzymes on the DNA of the SV40 virus and studied its components, which allowed him to map the virus' genome.
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.