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American Wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry for Genetic Studies


For the third day in a row, an American has been awarded a Nobel Prize, the latest one in the field of Chemistry.

Back in 1959, this year's chemistry winner, Roger Kornberg, traveled to Stockholm as a 12-year-old when his father received the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

The Kornberg's are the sixth father and son to both win Nobel Prizes.

Now 59-years-old, Roger has been awarded the Nobel for his studies in how cells take information from genes to produce proteins, the building blocks of life. In other words, the essential process of how genetic material is copied.

What Kornberg described was how this information is taken from genes and converted to molecules, called messenger RNA.

When this so-called transcription process is disturbed, diseases such as cancer and heart disease can occur. Understanding transcription is considered absolutely vital in the future development of stem cell research.

The Nobel Academy cited Kornberg for capturing the process of transcription in full detail on a molecular level by managing to freeze the construction process of RNA halfway through.

Kornberg is now a professor of medicine at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

Reached on the telephone, he told the assembled journalists in Stockholm that he was shaking with the news of his award.

Kornberg will travel to Sweden in December to receive his prize along with a check of nearly $1.4 million.

He'll be joined by fellow American winners represented in the fields of medicine and physics.

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