The Nobel was awarded “for mechanistic studies of DNA repair”.
Mr. Lindahl is from the Francis Crick Institute. "He demonstrated that DNA decays at a rate that ought to have made the development of life on Earth impossible. This insight led him to discover a molecular machinery, base excision repair, which constantly counteracts the collapse of our DNA," said the Nobel Institute in a statement. Mr. Lindahl is also the 29th Nobel Laureate born in Sweden.
Mr. Modrich is from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University School of Medicine. "He demonstrated how the cell corrects errors that occur when DNA is replicated during cell division. This mechanism, mismatch repair, reduces the error frequency during DNA replication by about a thousandfold. Congenital defects in mismatch repair are known, for example, to cause a hereditary variant of colon cancer," added the release.
Mr. Sancar is from the University of North Carolina. "He has mapped nucleotide excision repair, the mechanism that cells use to repair UV damage to DNA. People born with defects in this repair sstem will develop skin cancer if they are exposed to sunlight. The cell also utilises nucleotide excision repair to correct defects caused by mutagenic substances, among other things," said the release.
"Their work has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions and is, for instance, used for the development of new cancer treatments," said the press release.
The winners will share the 8 million Swedish kronor (about $960,000) prize money. Each winner will also get a diploma and a gold medal at the annual award ceremony on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of prize founder Alfred Nobel.
This year’s medicine prize went to scientists from Japan, the U.S. and China who discovered drugs to fight malaria and other tropical diseases. Japanese and Canadian scientists won the physics prize for discovering that tiny particles called neutrinos have mass.
The Nobel announcements continue with literature on Thursday, the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday and the economics award on Monday.