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Monday, 8th October 2012
In General Japan News,

Nobel prize awarded to UK and Japan scientists

The Nobel Prize for stem cell research has been awarded to two recipients - the UK's John Gurdon and Japan's Shinya Yamanaka.

This marks a prestigious moment in the careers of both scientists, who have managed to change adult cells from one kind into another.

Professor Gurdon is best known for his work that eventually led to the creation of world-renowned Dolly the sheep.

50 years ago, the Briton took the genetic information from the cell of a frog and implemented it in an egg to create a new frog, with the clone developing from a normal tadpole.

This breakthrough was innovated by Professor Yamanaka, who began his career 25 years ago as a surgeon.

He said: "It turned out that I am not talented as a surgeon. So I decided to change my career from clinics to laboratories."

In doing so, the professor managed to reset the information of a cell, turning it into a stem cell so that it could be reprogrammed to be used as a specialised cell. 

A humble recipient of the prize, professor Yamanaka paid great tribute to his British counterpart, who he claims made his own discoveries possible.

"This field has a long history, starting with John Gurdon," he said.

"I feel very lucky. I may have played some important role in this long history, but it was not myself who initiated this field. So that's my feeling right now."

In fact, professor Gurdon first published his findings in 1962 - the year in which professor Yamanaka was born.

The Japanese scientist was born in Osaka and studied at both Kyoto University and Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, amongst others.

Other accolades on his shelf include the 2008 Robert Koch Prize, the 2009 Gairdner Foundation International Award and the 2011 Wolf Prize.

Posted by Mark Smith

Related news stories:
Japanese biologist, Yoshinori Ohsumi, wins Nobel Prize for medicine (4th October 2016)