Copyright © The Nobel Foundation. Photo: Ulla Montan
Sir Martin J. Evans
Born: 1 January 1941, Stroud, United Kingdom
Affiliation at the time of the award: Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells."
Prize share: 1/3
DNA carries organisms' genomes and also determines their vital processes. The ability to artificially alter DNA opens the way to both new scientific understanding and new treatment methods for various illnesses. In 1981 Sir Martin J. Evans managed to cultivate what are referred to as embryonic stem cells from mice. This achievement opened the way to producing living mice with modified genomes. This advancement allowed Mario Capecchi and Oliver Smithies to breed live mice with specific genes inactivated, making it possible to elucidate these genes' functions.