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Scientists share Nobel chemistry prize... and, yes, it involves jellyfish

Jellyfish

It may seem like a stretch but jellyfish are ...well... useful. They don't exist just to sting us during occasional forays into the ocean. Times Staff Writer Thomas H. Maugh II reports:

Three U.S.-based scientists will share the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry for their development of a green fluorescent protein from jellyfish that has provided researchers their first new window into the workings of the cell since the development of the microscope.

Roger Y. Tsien, 56, of UC San Diego, Martin Chalfie, 61, of Columbia University, and Osamu Shimomura, 80, a Japanese-born researcher who works at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., will share the $1.4-million prize for developing the protein that the Nobel committee called "a guiding star for biochemists, biologists, medical scientists and other researchers."

The protein can be attached to any of the 10,000 individual molecules within a living cell, allowing researchers for the first time to trace the paths of the molecules as they wind through the complex pathways of life.

Photo: EPA

 
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