LONDON. So, it wasn't the human genome; nor the nematode. Today, nerves seem to have got to the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, which this morning announced the award of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2000 jointly to Arvid Carlsson, Paul Greengard and Eric Kandel.

Eric Kandel — at 71 the spring chicken of the three winners — is at the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Columbia University, New York. He was rewarded "for his discoveries of how the efficiency of synapses can be modified." Kandel developed the sea slug Aplysia — an organism with just 20,000 nerve cells — as an experimental model, using a simple reflex that protects Aplysia's gills to study learning. He demonstrated that short term and long term memory in the sea slug are located at the synapse. In the 1990s he extended these studies to mice, and showed that...

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