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Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to researchers who mapped how cells repair DNA

Adam Baker/Flickr

This year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to a trio of scientists for studying "how cells repair damaged DNA and safeguard the genetic information."

DNA is prone to defect and decay, yet is still able to function. The three researchers — Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich, and Aziz Sancar — have contributed to our understanding of how cells are able to constantly diagnose and fix the barrage of problems. Lindahl discovered the mechanism that constantly fixes DNA, known as "base excision repair." Modrich mapped "nucleotide excision repair," through which cells repair ultraviolet damage done to DNA. Sancar demonstrated how, through "mismatch repair," the frequency of DNA errors that occur during cellular division is reduced.

"The Nobel Laureates in Chemistry 2015 have provided fundamental insights into how cells function, knowledge that can be used, for instance, in the development of new cancer treatments," the Nobel Prize committee said in a statement. The 8 million Swedish kronor prize, which equals about $970,000, will be split equally among the three of them.