Americans, 1 British scientist win Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Virtually all of them build on what went on before.

Arnold, only the fifth woman to win a chemistry Nobel, was awarded half of the nine million Swedish krona (about $1.29 million Cdn) prize, while Smith and Winter shared the other half.

"Today's Nobel Prize in chemistry highlights the tremendous role of chemistry in contributing to many areas of our lives including pharmaceuticals, detergents, green catalysis and biofuels".

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which chose the winners on Wednesday, said Arnold conducted the first directed evolution of enzymes, whose uses include "more environmentally friendly manufacturing of chemical substances such as pharmaceuticals and the production of renewable fuels". "Mine was an idea in a line of research that built very naturally on the lines of research that went before".

USA scientists Frances Arnold and George Smith and British researcher Gregory Winter won the Nobel Chemistry Prize on Wednesday for applying the principles of evolution to develop enzymes used to make everything from biofuels to pharmaceuticals, the jury said.

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Gregory Winter of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, is on the UK-Israel Science Council, which brings together experts from both countries. Smith realised that this could be handy: for example if it wasn't known what protein a particular gene gave rise to, it could be put into a phage and the mystery protein would appear on the surface and could be identified.

Smith developed a method using a virus that infects bacteria to produce new proteins while Winter used the same phage display technique for the directed evolution of antibodies, with the aim of producing more effective medicines. Medications for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel diseases have come from their work. Many other antibodies created in this way are now in clinical trials, such as those developed to fight Alzheimer's disease, according to the Academy.

Arnold, Smith and Winter will receive their prize from Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's 1896 death.

For the first time since 1949, the Swedish Academy has postponed the announcement of the 2018 Nobel Literature Prize until next year, amid a #MeToo scandal and bitter internal dispute that has prevented it from functioning properly. Donna Strickland, from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, shared the physics award on Tuesday.

The victor of the Nobel Peace Prize is to be announced on Friday. The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, honoring Alfred Nobel, the man who endowed the five Nobel Prizes, will be revealed on Monday.

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