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Salk Institute professor Sydney Brenner receives 2002 Nobel Prize for medicine

La Jolla, Calif.-Sydney Brenner, a distinguished professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, is one of three recipients of this year's Nobel Prize in medicine for his contributions toward discoveries about how genes regulate organ growth and the process of programmed cell death.

Brenner showed that the tiny transparent worm C. elegans was useful for studying how cells specialize and organs develop. His work ''laid the foundation for this year's prize,'' the awards committee said.

During his distinguished career, Brenner also demonstrated that a chemical could produce specific genetic mutations in the worm, allowing different mutations to be linked to specific effects on organ development. The work of Brenner and this year's Nobel laureates in medicine has implications for understanding a range of diseases, including cancer, AIDS, strokes and neurodegenerative diseases.

"Sydney Brenner has made remarkable contributions throughout his career to our understanding of biology and medicine," said Dr. Richard Murphy, president and CEO of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. "He was responsible for uncovering the basic principles of how DNA instructs cells to make proteins and he was the first to sequence the genome of an entire organism (the worm C. Elegans), work that set the stage for understanding the field of cell death, which is crucial to our understanding of many diseases, including cancer and degenerative diseases of the brain. His work also provided the foundation for the subsequent sequencing of the human genome. Sydney is a true visionary and one of the most important biologists of our time. He is well deserving of this honor."

In the early 1960s, Brenner established the existence of messenger RNA, or mRNA, which can be translated into proteins, and demonstrated that the nucleotide sequence of mRNA determines the order of amino acids in proteins. For these discoveries in 1971, Brenner received his first Lasker
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Contact: Robert Bradford
bradford@salk.edu
858-453-4100 x1290
Salk Institute
7-Oct-2002


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