American scientists Martin Chalfie and Roger Y. Tsien, and Osamu Shimomura of Japan won the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for their discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, or GFP.
The picture at the Royal Swedish Academy shows undated file photos of the 2008 Nobel Chemistry laureates: American scientists Martin Chalfie (L) and Roger Y. Tsien (R), and Osamu Shimomura of Japan, in Stockholm, Sweden, Oct. 8, 2008. American scientists Martin Chalfie and Roger Y. Tsien, and Osamu Shimomura of Japan won the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for their discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP. [Xinhua Photo]
"The glowing proteins is one of the most important tools used in contemporary bioscience. This year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry rewards the initial discovery of the GFP and a series of important developments which have led to its use as a tagging tool in bioscience," the Royal Swedish Academy of Science said in a statement.
Osamu Shimomura first isolated GFP from a jellyfish found off the west coast of North America in 1962 and discovered that this protein glowed bright green under ultraviolet light.
Martin Chalfie demonstrated the value of GFP as luminous genetic tag for various biological phenomena and colored six individual cells with the aid of GFP in one of his first experiments.
Roger Y. Tsien contributed to the general understanding of how GFP fluoresces. He also extended the color palette beyond green allowing researchers to give various proteins and cells different colors.
He was surprised to know he has been rewarded this year's Nobel Prize when he answered the questions at a press conference via telephone from his home in the United States.
He said he was "very happy about the recognition of the work. Idid not really expect it."
Roger Y. Tsien, born in 1952, is a professor at the University of California, San Diego since 1989.
As a Chinese American to be awarded the Nobel Prize, many Chinese people would be proud and more Chinese young people would be inspired to engage in scientific research, Roger Y. Tsien told Xinhua.
Shimomura, born 1928 in Kyoto, Japan, works at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and the Boston University Medical School, while Chalfie, born in 1947, is a professor at Columbia University in New York.
The trio's research has developed ways to watch processes that were previously invisible, such as the development of nerve cells in the brain or how cancer cells spread, the statement said.
This was the third of prestigious Nobel Prizes handed out so far this year, and awards in physics and medicine were announced over the past two days.
Yoichiro Nambu of America and Janpan's Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa won the 2008 Nobel Prize in physics for reaching on symmetry at the microscopic level, while Harald zur Hausen of Germany and Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier of France shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of two viruses causing severe human diseases.
Each prize consists of a medal, a personal diploma and a cash award of 10 million Swedish kronor (1.42 million U.S. dollars).
(Xinhua News Agency October 9, 2008)