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2008 Gruber Genetics Prize awarded to Allan Spradling of Carnegie Institution
Date:6/5/2008

Baltimore, MDAllan C. Spradling, director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Embryology, has been awarded the 2008 Genetics Prize by the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation in recognition of his contributions to fruit fly genomics and for "fundamental discoveries about the earliest stages of reproduction." The prize, which consists of a gold medal and $500,000, will be presented to Spradling at the International Congress of Genetics in Berlin on July 13, 2008.

"Allan Spradling is an exceptionally talented scientist," commented Carnegie president Richard A. Meserve. "I am extraordinarily pleased at this deserved recognition of Allan's pathbreaking work."

Spradling's scientific accomplishments span a wide range of areas, but he is best known for his work on stem cells in living tissues and the "niches" or specialized microenvironments in which stem cells grow. In 1990 Spradling's group described the first stem cell niche using ovary tissue from the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Spradling went on to define the molecular pathways that regulate stem cell behavior within their niches. His work on Drosophila stem cells and niches has helped guide mammalian stem cell research.

Twenty years ago, Spradling co-developed with Gerald Rubin the first successful method for inserting genes into the Drosophila genome. Spradling subsequently applied engineered DNA segments to induce mutations in Drosophila genes, which was a key step in understanding the genes' functions and therefore the functions of corresponding genes in humans. This groundbreaking work helped establish Drosophila as one of the most useful model organisms for studying human genetics, development, and disease.

Spradling was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and studied mathematics and physics at the University of Chicago before switching to biology. He earned his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975 where he discovered that many cells ind
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Contact: Alan Cutler
acutler@ciw.edu
202-939-1142
Carnegie Institution
Source:Eurekalert

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