LONDON — The award of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine to Leland Hartwell, Tim Hunt and Paul Nurse for discoveries in cell cycle control follows an article in 21 September Cell by Itamar Simon and colleagues at the Whitehead Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts outlining a further important advance in this field. Richard A. Young and his team have learned how the regulators of the cell cycle are themselves regulated, using a new technique for studying DNA-protein binding in vivo.

The regulation of cell division by the co-ordinated control of the cell cycle clock through its various stages is essential to the healthy functioning of all organisms – from bacteria to humans. Loss of cell cycle control plays an important role in cancer, and its restoration is currently the target of potential new therapeutics.

Many of the proteins involved in cell cycle control are already known; in...

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