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Dr. Oliver Smithies, the Excellence Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA, together with Mario R. Capecchi and Martin J. Evans, won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine:

This year’s Nobel Laureates have made a series of ground-breaking discoveries concerning embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in mammals. Their discoveries led to the creation of an immensely powerful technology referred to as gene targeting in mice. It is now being applied to virtually all areas of biomedicine – from basic research to the development of new therapies.

Gene targeting is often used to inactivate single genes. Such gene “knockout” experiments have elucidated the roles of numerous genes in embryonic development, adult physiology, aging and disease. To date, more than ten thousand mouse genes (approximately half of the genes in the mammalian genome) have been knocked out. Ongoing international efforts will make “knockout mice” for all genes available within the near future.

Update: Here is the UNC press release.

[Hat-tip to Abel]


  1. #1 Nick Anthis
    October 8, 2007

    This comes as some in the UK are even misguidedly contending that academia is becoming too reliant on animal research–despite the fact that increases in animal experiments (which are outpaced by increases in research funding in general anyway) are almost solely due to increasing use of knockout and knock-in animals.

  2. #2 coturnix
    October 8, 2007

    Yes, so this is good timing to highlight the immense importance of animal research.

  3. #3 wayne moss
    October 10, 2007

    This is a great honor, not only for the Dr. but for the university and all of NC

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