Four researchers have been awarded the $1 million Kavli Prize in Neuroscience for uncovering genes involved in a number of brain disorders, Stat News reports.
"These scientists discovered the genetic basis of multiple brain disorders, and elucidated the pathways by which these genes work," Kristine Walhovd, chair of the neuroscience committee, says in a statement.
One awardee is University of Strasbourg's Jean-Louis Mandel, who found that gene repeats contribute to Fragile X syndrome and that methylation at various sites affects the expression of the syndrome. Baylor College of Medicine's Huda Zoghbi and Harry Orr from the University of Minnesota Medical School, meanwhile, were awarded the prize for their discovery that a CAG repeat in ATAXIN1 causes the neurodegenerative disease spinocerebellar ataxia type 1, with the number of repeats influencing the severity of disease. Zoghbi additionally tied MECP2 mutations to Rett syndrome. Finally, Christopher Walsh from Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital won for his work uncovering genetic mutations affecting cerebral cortex disorders.
The group also awarded prizes in astrophysics and nanoscience.