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Investment in science is money well spent, says Nobel laureate

Last Updated: Monday, November 18, 2013 - 19:41

Hyderabad: The money invested in science and research is well spent because it helps improve things and make better products, Nobel laureate Oliver Smithies who was co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology in October 8, 2007, said here Monday.

"I think the more you put in, the more you get out. The return on investment in science in research is very high. If you ask yourself, for example, why is the Boeing company is doing so well, the answer is because it did research," he told reporters here today where he attended the 26th Foundation Day celebrations of the CSIR Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).

"Companies investing in research do better. Countries that invest in research do better. You can do a new thing, you can find a new product, you can market it or you can help people better. If you don`t do research, you have to wait for somebody else. So, it is very well spent money," he said.

Smithies, who was born in England in 1925, asked youngsters to do what they love to do for excellence in the area.

When asked about the benefits of human genome sequencing since 2003 when it was completed, he said genetic sequencing helped understand about diseases and why some people are susceptible to some of diseases.

"The benefit is enormous increase in understanding. You have to realise that in order to treat anything that is wrong with a person, you have to know why and what is wrong. Genetic sequencing helps us understand more of things that make some of us susceptible to high blood pressure, and why some of us are not. We are beginning to understand things, but there is a long way to go," he said.

Smithies shared the coveted Nobel Prize in 2007 with two others "for their discoveries of principles to introduce specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells".

Replying to a query, Smithies regretted the tendency among some youngsters in America to look for money which inhibits science.

Smithies, who is a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, said that he is currently working on kidney diseases as well as complications involved in pregnancy and delivery, like women who develop high blood pressure.

Asked about human cloning, he said, "It is stupid. It won`t be possible anyway".
He said that he appreciated Indian scientists and he would like to work with them.

CCMB Director Mohan Rao said the institution is working on new areas which include complaints of ageing and health, the role of epigenetic in disease conditions as well as clonal seeds.

The CCMB would also like to work in the areas of stem cell based therapies, nanotechnology as well as developing new and cost-effective diagnostics, he said.

First Published: Monday, November 18, 2013 - 19:41

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