Andrew Fire and Craig Mello the Win Nobel Prize in Medicine

Andrew Z. Fire and Craig C. Mello from the U.S. have won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their work in controlling the flow of genetic information. The Karolinska Instutet in Stockholm honored the pair for their discovery of "RNA interference - gene silencing by double-stranded RNA". RNA interference is important in defense against viral infections and controlling other gene activity. The method is already being widely used in basic science as a method to study the function of genes and it may lead to novel therapies in the future.

Fire, a professor of pathology and genetics at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, says on his website that his work is primarily focused on the mechanisms by which cells and organisms respond to genetic change. Mello is a professor in the molecular medicine program at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, where his research interests have included cancer, AIDS and cell biology. The coveted award honoring achievements in medical research opened this year's series of Nobel prize announcements. It will be followed by prizes for physics, chemistry, literature, peace and economics.

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