Nobel Laureate in Medicine Wins Acclaim Despite Past Political Skirmishes

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For one of today's winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine, Elizabeth H. Blackburn of the University of California at San Francisco, the news isn't her first exposure to widespread public attention.

Back in 2004, during the Bush administration, Ms. Blackburn was one of two scientists dismissed from the President's Council on Bioethics, after they dissented from the panel by arguing that the federal government should not bar scientists from creating cloned embryos as a source of stem cells for medical research.

Today, along with two other American researchers—Carol W. Greider of the Johns Hopkins University, and Jack W. Szostak of the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital—she won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery, in the 1980s, of how chromosomes are duplicated during cell division and how telomeres—the caps at the ends of chromosome strands—prevent the copying from being degraded.

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