Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2018 - Seeker's Thoughts

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Thursday, 4 October 2018

Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2018

The Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2018 has been given to Frances Arnold and George Smith from United States and to British Researcher Gregory Winter for applying evolution to develop enzyme and proteins for better of Human Kind.
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Understanding Evolution
Life is the process of billion years of evolution on this earth. Organisms have different chemistry and they have adopted their chemistry according to their environment to survive. With time Mutation in genes leads to changes in proteins, which may be good or bad both. Due to evolution there is variety of life as all animals are genetic cousins. 
This year prize in Chemistry has been given to a revolution based on evolution. All three Nobel Laureates who won the prize have used Darwin’s approach for better of mankind.
Since the life on the planet has taken birth, the evolution occurred in bodies of all animals and the protein inside them to increase thickness of life.
Human has understood evolution since Darwin explained it. This theory brought different picture of selective breeding between plants and animals.

The Work of Nobel Laureates
These Nobel Laureates have taken the next step- a molecular understanding of the evolutionary process. That means at molecular level, the used molecular process and made evolution thousand times faster.
They have been able to direct evolution to create proteins. They are able to catalyze (Speedup) the chemical reaction. They also evolved proteins with binding properties such as anti-bodies. So basically these are new chemical tools which can be used.
First Direct Evolution of enzymes, which are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. Enzymes produced though directed evolution are used to manufacture everything from biofuels to pharmaceuticals
A Smith developed a method known as Phage display where a bacteriophage a virus that infects bacteria can be used to new proteins.
Phage display produces antibodies that can neutralize toxins counteract autoimmune diseases and cure metastatic cancer
 So basically, this year’s Chemistry Laureates have taken control of evolution and used the same principles – genetic change and selection – to develop proteins that solve humankind’s chemical problems.
The methods that the 2018 Nobel Prize 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.

Nobel Laureates
1.       Frances Arnold conducted the first directed evolution of enzymes in 1993, which are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. Enzymes produced through directed evolution are used to manufacture everything from biofuels to pharmaceuticals. Since then, she has refined the methods that are now routinely used to develop new catalysts. The uses of Frances Arnold’s enzymes include more environmentally friendly manufacturing of chemical substances, such as pharmaceuticals, and the production of renewable fuels for a greener transport sector.
2.      In 1985, George Smith developed an elegant method known as phage display, where a bacteriophage – a virus that infects bacteria – can be used to evolve new proteins.
3.      Sir Gregory Winter used phage display for the directed evolution of antibodies, with the aim of producing new pharmaceuticals. The first one based on this method, adalimumab, was approved in 2002 and is used for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel diseases. Since then, phage display has produced antibodies that can neutralize toxins, counteract autoimmune diseases, and cure metastatic cancer.