Two British chemists who developed a super-fast DNA sequencing technique that paved the way for revolutionary healthcare advances were awarded Finland’s version of the Nobel science prizes. Cambridge University professors Shankar Balasubramanian and David Klenerman took home the 1 million euro ($1.22 million) Millennium Technology Prize for their work over 27 years creating ever faster and cheaper ways to sequence the human genome.
The pair’s Next-Generation DNA Sequencing technology (NGS) “means huge benefits to society, from helping the fight against killer diseases such as Covid-19 or cancer to better understanding crop diseases and enhancing food production,” the Technology Academy Finland, which awards the biennial prize.
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About the award:
The Finnish Millennium Technology Prize, founded in 2004, singles out innovations that have practical applications and which “enhance the quality of people’s lives.” It aims to be a technology equivalent of the Nobel science prizes, which have been criticised by some for focusing too much on traditional, decades-old scientific research.