This year’s Chemistry Laureates have taken control of evolution and used the same principles – genetic change and selection – to develop proteins that solve humankind’s chemical problems.
The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded to Frances H. Arnold, George P. Smith, and Sir Gregory P. Winter for developing proteins that solve humankind’s chemical problems. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018 with one half of the prize to Frances H. Arnold, professor at California Institute of Technology(CalTech) “for the directed evolution of enzymes” and the other half jointly to George P. Smith of the University of Missouri and Sir Gregory P. Winter at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies”.
Frances Arnold performed the first “directed evolution” of enzymes, which are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. Enzymes produced through directed evolution are used to manufacture everything from biofuels to pharmaceuticals.
George Smith developed a method called phage display, where a bacteriophage (a virus that infects bacteria) can be used to evolve new proteins.
Sir Gregory Winter used phage display to produce new pharmaceuticals. Today phage display has produced antibodies that can neutralize toxins, counteract autoimmune diseases and cure metastatic cancer.
Image Source: Twitter