Craig C. Mello


Craig C. Mello

Photo: J. Mottern

Craig C. Mello
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2006

Born: 18 October 1960, New Haven, CT, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA

Prize motivation: “for their discovery of RNA interference - gene silencing by double-stranded RNA”

Prize share: 1/2


RNA has multiple functions. Among these, messenger RNA carries genetic information from DNA to protein formation. RNA is often a single-stranded spiral, but also exists in double-stranded form. In 1998, Craig Mello and Andrew Fire discovered through their studies of the roundworm C. elegans a phenomenon dubbed RNA interference. In this phenomenon, double-stranded RNA blocks messenger RNA so that certain genetic information is not converted during protein formation. This silences these genes, i.e. renders them inactive. The phenomenon plays an important regulatory role within a genome.

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