Two MacArthur 'geniuses' advance genetics

Half-million dollar prizes awarded for creativity in a wide range of disciplines

Tabitha Powledge(tam@nasw.org)
Oct 5, 2003

Researchers working in two cutting-edge but quite different realms of theoretical genetics, both with significant practical applications, are among those chosen in this year's MacArthur Fellows Program Awards, also known as the MacArthur "genius awards." James J. Collins, biomedical engineer at Boston University, and Loren H. Rieseberg, botanist at Indiana University at Bloomington, will each get $500,000 to spend any way he wishes.

Rieseberg, who learned of his good fortune last Tuesday (September 30), told The Scientist that he is planning to use his money to hire an illustrator and research help for a book on plant speciation he'll write on sabbatical next year. He'll also spend money in his lab, finding ways to test function in the several candidate genes for plant speciation that he and his colleagues have identified, and applying the trendy techniques of RNA interference to their work. And then there's the popular book about...

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