The 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
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Press Release: The 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
"key regulators of the cell cycle"
One billion cells per gram tissue
The phases of the cell cycle
Cell cycle control
Cell cycle genes in yeast cells
A general principle
The discovery of the first cyclin
The engine and the gear box of the cell cycle
A great impact of the discoveries
All organisms consist of cells that multiply through cell division. An adult human being has approximately 100 000 billion cells, all originating from a single cell, the fertilized egg cell. In adults there is also an enormous number of continuously dividing cells replacing those dying. Before a cell can divide it has to grow in size, duplicate its chromosomes and separate the chromosomes for exact distribution between the two daughter cells. These different processes are coordinated in the cell cycle.
This year's Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine have made seminal discoveries concerning the control of the cell cycle. They have identified key molecules that regulate the cell cycle in all eukaryotic organisms, including yeasts, plants, animals and human. These fundamental discoveries have a great impact on all aspects of cell growth. Defects in cell cycle control may lead to the type of chromosome alterations seen in cancer cells. This may in the long term open new possibilities for cancer treatment.