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PLoS author wins Nobel prize

Everybody is doing this I know but we also wanted to congratulate Andrew Fire and Craig Mello for winning this year’s Nobel prize for Physiology and Medicine for their work on “RNA interference – gene silencing by double-stranded RNA“.

Here in the UK we have a saying that you know you are getting older when policemen start looking younger. I guess that the equivalent in science would have to do with thinking that the work mentioned in Nobel citations hasn’t long been published.

In this case the classic paper was “Potent and specific genetic interference by double-stranded RNA in Caenorhabditis elegans in Nature on the 19th of February 1998. I’m pleased that Nature is now allowing free access to that paper, although you have to regret that the other manuscripts they published at the time are not similarly treated. The table of contents for that issue of Nature seems stuffed with treasures that would merit re-reading.

Luckily, given that this award shows the Nobel committee’s interest firmly focussing on the last decade, we won’t have to wait too long before fully Open Access papers will be the main references in a Nobel citation.

And for anyone wondering the justification for the title of this post is a joint publication from Philip Zamore and Craig Mello’s labs entitled “Sequence-Specific Inhibition of Small RNA Function” published in PLoS Biology in April 2004. Unlike the Nature paper that one has been available for anyone to read ever since it was published.

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