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Histones, RNA, and More Win

Winners of this year's Lasker Awards — known as the 'American Nobels' include researchers who have studied histones and RNA biology, the New York Times reports.

Rockefeller University's David Allis and the University of California, Los Angeles' Michael Grunstein have shared the basic research award for their work on histones, the Associated Press reports. Allis, the Times notes, focused on the biochemical aspect of histones, while Grunstein worked on the genetics. They found that histones have a key role in gene regulation and this has since piqued the interest of drug developers, it adds.

Meanwhile, Yale University's Joan Steitz has received the special achievement in medical science award for her work teasing out the details of splicing, Scientific American reports. She also, it adds, uncovered snRNPs. "These are little particles inside cells that act by taking the RNA, made by the DNA, and clipping out parts of it, putting the rest back together, and making a messenger RNA that can then be converted into proteins by the cell," she tells Scientific American. "Discovering the cellular machinery for that has to be what I consider my lab's greatest contribution."

Finally, John Glen, who has retired from AstraZeneca, has received the clinical medicine award for his development of the anesthetic drug propofol, Science reports.

The awards come with a $250,000 prize and are to be awarded at a ceremony later this month.