This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to three scientists who were instrumental in solving one of the enigmas of DNA replication, namely the problem of Replication of the entire Chromosome and prevention of degradation. The Nobel committee at Karolinska Institutet decided to jointly award the 2009 Nobel prize to Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak for their Discovery of “how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase1

Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn
Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn

Now, what are these Telomeres? They are nothing but the special cap like structures at the ends of our tightly packed chromosomes. Elizabeth B. And Jack S. Discovered that special sequences in these telomeres prevented the degradation of chromosomes while they were being replicated. It followed very logically then, that if there are telomeres then there must be definitely some enzyme responsible for their synthesis. Working on this premise, Elizabeth B. and Carol G went to identify the unique enzyme, Telomerase.

continue reading…