"Dr. Lyon's recognition in 1961 of X-chromosome inactivation, which is still referred to as 'Lyonization,' was one of the first great insights into genetic control mechanisms of the 20th century," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "This was the key to understanding the inheritance pattern of X-linked disorders such as hemophilia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, fragile X syndrome, and certain types of cancer. As a result of Dr. Lyon's work, it became possible to provide accurate tests and genetic counseling for families affected by these disorders and to begin the research into potential treatments that continues today."
"In addition, Dr. Lyon's pioneering work became a model for the study of gene regulation and has had an enormous influence on the work of many other scientists for the past 40 years," Dr. Howse said.
The Prize is a cash award of $250,000 and a silver medal in the design of the Roosevelt dime, in honor of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who founded the March of Dimes.
The human genome consists of 23 pairs of chromosomes, the string-like structures in the nuclei of our cells that contain the genes. Twenty-two of these pairs are known as autosomes and are identical in males and females. Inheriting an excess number of an autosome can result in the death of an embryo or drastic health consequences.
The remaining pair of chromosomes, known as the sex chromosomes, are designated by the letters X and Y. Males have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome, while female
Contact: Michele Kling
March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation