In a move that many will regard as long overdue, the Nobel committee honoured Sydney Brenner with the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. John Sulston and Robert Horvitz will share the prize that has been awarded in recognition of the triumvirate's seminal studies on the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans.

Their discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death have given insights into these processes in many other organisms.

In the early 1960s, Sydney Brenner — then at the MRC-LMB in Cambridge and currently a Distinguished Professor at The Salk Institute, California, USA — realized that it would be impossible to use a mammalian system as a tool for studies on cell differentiation and organ development. He identified the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as an ideal experimental organism because of its short generation time, small cell number (959 cells in the adult) and amenability to examination...

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