Sir John Sulston, a British geneticist, is one of three scientists who will share this year's Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology. The prize recognises the scientists' discoveries concerning 'genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death'. Dr Sulston will share the $1 million prize with another British scientist, Sydney Brenner, and US scientist Robert Horvitz.
After studying the primitive nematode worm, Dr Sulston, of Cambridge University, identified the first genetic mutation responsible for the cell death process. This cell death work has helped scientists understand the disease process in humans. It has also given further insights into cancer, where programmed cell death does not take place.