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Weizmann Women & Science Award presented to Dr. Mary-Claire King

ward to Dr. King. The Emmy-award-winning Ms. Stahl expressed her pride in honoring Dr. King, who has excelled in her profession "not just once, not just twice, but three times" through her work in genetics.

Her first major discovery was that the human and chimpanzee genomes are so similar that our genes are 99 percent identical a fact that we now take for granted.

Dr. King's second medicine-changing discovery was of a gene, BRCA1, that can run in families and that predisposes women to breast cancer. As Ms. Stahl pointed out, the discovery that breast cancer has a hereditary component was revolutionary when Dr. King reported it in 1990.

Her third major contribution to science and society was her breakthrough work in identifying bodies through DNA. Dr. King's research has not only transformed crime forensics, but has been used to identify soldiers from the battlefield and people who have died in natural disasters or through genocide.

In presenting the award, a custom-designed globe by the artist Vasa and a check for $25,000, Ms. Stahl stated that Dr. King's work "reveals not only her intelligence, tenacity, and technical skills, but also her special caring for people."

Dr. King was clearly moved as she accepted the award, saying, "we all have heroes in science, and mine has been Ruth Arnon for as long as I can remember." To Prof. Arnon, she said, "I will try to follow in your path."

Dr. King spoke of her decade-long collaboration with geneticists in Israel and her belief that "Israel probably has, person for person, the strongest science in the world." She then announced her decision to use the $25,000 award to help Israeli women in science. She outlined a plan to bring these scientists to the U.S. for sabbaticals, thus allowing them to do intensive research in U.S. labs and to receive commensurate compensation, and expressed hope that her program would inspire others to undertake similar projects.


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Contact: Jennifer Manning
jennifer@acwis.org
212-895-7952
American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science
9-Aug-2006


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