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Reprogramming Prize

For their work on reprogramming cells, John Gurdon at Cambridge University in the UK and Shinya Yamanaka from Japan's Kyoto University have won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Reuters reports. "The Nobel Prize recognizes two scientists who discovered that mature, specialised cells can be reprogrammed to become immature cells capable of developing into all tissues of the body," The Nobel committee says in a press release. "Their findings have revolutionised our understanding of how cells and organisms develop." Gurdon and Yamanaka will share the $1.2 million prize.

In the early 1960s, Gurdon was the first person to clone an animal, The Guardian reports. Gurdon transplanted a nucleus from an adult frog's intestine cell into a frog egg, which then developed into a healthy tadpole. Then, in 2006, Yamanaka reported on his work reprogramming mature mouse cells into induced pluripotent stem cells. "By drawing on the methods developed by Gurdon and Yamanaka, scientists can create cells that carry specific diseases and watch how they grow. The procedure could shed light on the biological mechanisms that go awry in disease and reveal new ways to treat them," The Guardian adds.

Nobel week continues with more prizewinners being announced each day. For the gambling types, bookmakers are taking bets.