The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine – Press Release

Posted: December 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Press Release

2012-10-08

The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has today decided to award

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2012

jointly to

John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka

for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent

The Nobel Prize recognizes two scientists who discovered that mature, specialised cells can be reprogrammed to become immature cells capable of developing into all tissues of the body. Their findings have revolutionised our understanding of how cells and organisms develop.

John B. Gurdon discovered in 1962 that the specialisation of cells is reversible. In a classic experiment, he replaced the immature cell nucleus in an egg cell of a frog with the nucleus from a mature intestinal cell. This modified egg cell developed into a normal tadpole. The DNA of the mature cell still had all the information needed to develop all cells in the frog.

Shinya Yamanaka discovered more than 40 years later, in 2006, how intact mature cells in mice could be reprogrammed to become immature stem cells. Surprisingly, by introducing only a few genes, he could reprogram mature cells to become pluripotent stem cells, i.e. immature cells that are able to develop into all types of cells in the body.

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The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine - Press Release

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