- The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018 has been awarded to three scientists who have accelerated and directed the creative power of evolution by putting “Darwin in a test-tube”.
- The work of Smith and Winter focuses on bacteriophages, viruses which infect bacteria, and which can be used to track interactions between proteins. A gene which the phage contains is also introduced into the gene for its protein coat.
- When it is expressed as a specific protein on the coat, it acts as a displayed signpost of its contents, mapping phenotype to genotype.
- The interactions of other proteins with these ‘display phages’, which are part of large ‘libraries’ of phages and proteins, can then be tracked.
- Apart from its use in protein engineering, the method has also been used to determine the antigens of tumours, leading to targeted treatment.