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Award and €1m for engineering pioneer
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Award and €1m for engineering pioneer

27.05.2016 - The Finnish Technology Academy has awarded US-American innovator Frances Arnold the 2016 Millennium Technology Prize, worth €1m. Arnold is a pioneer in the field of directed evolution.

Frances Arnold took the elegant concept of natural evolution and put it to work in protein engineering. For her pioneering work, the  US-American bioengineer has received the 7th Millennium Technology Prize, which is worth €1m. She was honoured for her groundbreaking work in directed evolution, a method used in protein engineering that mimics the process of natural selection to evolve proteins with certain useful properties.

Arnold’s method generates random mutations in the DNA – just as it happens in nature. The modified genes produce proteins with new properties, from which the researcher can choose the useful ones, repeating the process until the level of performance needed by industry is achieved. “The most beautiful, complex, and functional objects on the planet have been made by evolution,” said Arnold. “We can now use evolution to make things that no human knows how to design. Evolution is the most powerful engineering method in the world, and we should make use of it to find new biological solutions to problems.”

Arnold’s innovations have revolutionised the slow and costly process of protein modification. Today her methods are being used in hundreds of laboratories and companies around the world. Modified proteins are used to replace processes that are expensive or that utilise fossil raw materials in the production of fuels, paper products, pharmaceuticals, textiles and agricultural chemicals. “Directed evolution can be used in industries that utilize biotechnology, because biochemical reactions are based on enzymes,” cites professor Jarl-Thure Eriksson, Chair of the International Selection Committee.

The Millennium Technology Prize is handed out every other year and aims to promote sustainable development and a better quality of life.

© european-biotechnology-news.com/um

http://www.european-biotechnology-news.com/news/news/2016-02/award-and-eur1m-for-engineering-pioneer.html

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© 2007-2016 BIOCOM

http://www.european-biotechnology-news.com/news/news/pos/3.html

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No liability assumed, Date: 28.05.2016