Ernest McCulloch and James Till will share the 2005 Mary and Albert Lasker Foundation Award for Basic Medical Research Award for their discovery of the first stem cell, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation announced yesterday. Edwin Southern and Sir Alec Jeffreys will receive the Clinical Medical Research Award for developing Southern blotting and genetic fingerprinting, respectively. This year's Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service will go to Nancy Brinker for starting the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, devoted to curing breast cancer and increasing public awareness of the disease.

Each of this year's honored discoveries arose from a powerful combination of serendipity and insight, according to the recipients. In the early 1960s, McCulloch, a hematology expert, was working with Till, a biophysicist, on the cellular effects of radiation when he noticed small bumps on the spleens of irradiated mice. Interestingly, the number of bumps was in direct...

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