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GFP: Adventures in Nontranslational Research
April 26, 2011
Martin Chalfie received the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, where he is also Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences.
Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) allows scientists to look at the inner workings of cells. GFP can be used to tell where genes are turned on, where proteins are located within tissues, and how cell activities change over time.
The discovery and development of GFP also provide a very nice example of how scientific progress is often made: through accidental discoveries, the willingness to ignore previous assumptions and take chances, and the combined efforts of many people. The story of GFP also shows the importance of basic research on non-traditional organisms.
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