The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Frances H. Arnold, George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter for ‘harnessing the power of evolution’. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said that the 2018 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have taken control of evolution and used it for purposes that bring the greatest benefit to humankind.
The methods that the Nobel laureates have developed are now being internationally developed to promote a greener chemicals industry, produce new materials, manufacture sustainable biofuels, mitigate disease and save lives.
Frances Arnold conducted the first directed evolution of enzymes, which are proteins that catalyse chemical reactions. Enzymes produced through directed evolution are used to manufacture everything from biofuels to pharmaceuticals.
Watch the moment the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is announced.
Presented by Göran K. Hansson, Secretary General of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. pic.twitter.com/j0hkL3rkpp
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 3, 2018
George Smith developed a method known as phage display, where a bacteriophage – a virus that infects bacteria – can be used to evolve new proteins. Sir Gregory Winter has used phage display to produce new pharmaceuticals. Today phage display has produced antibodies that can neutralise toxins, counteract autoimmune diseases and cure metastatic cancer.