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Biochemist and Geneticist Ronald W. Davis Receives $500,000 Gruber Genetics Prize for Pioneering Work in the Development of Biotechnologies that Have Significantly Advanced the Fields of Molecular Genetics and Genomics
Date:6/8/2011

nomes. In 1979, Davis co-authored a seminal paper that described the very first case of what is now known as genome editing, the ability to replace any nucleotide in the yeast genome with any other nucleotide.

In 1980, in another landmark paper - one of the most highly cited in the field of human genetics - Davis and his team described how sequence variants in the genomes of humans and other species could provide genetic markers for making a genetic and physical map of the human genome. That paper helped launch the field of genomics. A few years later, Davis' lab showed how DNA libraries could be searched with protein-finding antibodies, a technique that has made it possible for scientists to identify genes for important proteins, including in humans.

During the 1990s, Davis contributed to the development of the very first microarrays, tools that enable scientists to analyze the gene expression of thousands of genes simultaneously. He then went on to help standardize this technology, paving the way for other scientists to use it for clinical applications. In recent years, his lab had produced sequences of several yeast chromosomes, part of the Escherichia coli genome, part of the Arabidopsis thalialiana genome (Arabidopsis is a plant widely used in the study of genetics), part of the human genome, and part of the genome of Plasmodium falciparu (a parasite that causes malaria in humans). Davis continues to develop new biotechnologies. DNA nanotechnology is a particular current focus.

"I really enjoy working on problems that others think are unsolvable," he says.

Additional Information The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation honors and encourages educational excellence, social justice and scientific achievements that better the human condition. For more information about Foundation guidelines and priorities, please visit www.gruberprizes.org.


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SOURCE The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation
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