At a gala on Monday night (April 28), recipients of 2002 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Awards were honored for their achievements and influence. NAS president Bruce Alberts, who presided over the black tie ceremony that took place during 140th annual NAS meeting in Washington, D.C., noted the twin themes of basic research and science education running through the evening.

In the life sciences, Andrew Z. Fire of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and Craig C. Mello of the University of Massachusetts Medical School were awarded the NAS Award in Molecular Biology for their discovery of RNA interference in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. During a symposium earlier in the day, their basic finding had been called one of the most important in recent years by Nobel Laureate Philip Sharp. Mello and Fire paid tribute to their predecessors, who had discussed the phenomenon in plants two decades prior, and to...

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