Alfred Nobel, who created the prizes in his will, was himself a chemist, and devised his famed awards in part to atone for inventing dynamite.
"The 2018 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have taken control of evolution and used it for purposes that bring the greatest benefit to humankind", the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences said. "It's a standard joke that someone with a Swedish accent calls and says you won!"
Three scientists - two from the US and one from Britain - share the 2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry on Wednesday for harnessing the power of evolution to produce novel proteins used in everything from environmentally friendly detergents and biofuels to cancer drugs.
The 2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded to scientists Frances Arnold, George Smith and Gregory Winter for research using directed evolution to produce enzymes for new chemicals and pharmaceuticals, the award-giving body said on Wednesday.
Winter was chosen for his work involving the use of phage display in the production of new pharmaceuticals, such as powerful antibodies that can fight autoimmune diseases and even cancer.
The other half of the prize will be shared by George Smith of the University of Missouri and Gregory Winter of the MRC Laboratory in Cambridge.
The first such drug created from this method, adalimumab, was approved in 2002 and is now used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel diseases, according to a statement.
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Professor Frances Arnold, an American chemist, was awarded half of the prize, which is worth 9 million Swedish kroner (£771,000).
The Nobel Prize in chemistry, which honors researchers for advances in studying how molecules combine and interact, is being announced Wednesday by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. "My hat's off to Smith, Winter, and Arnold for their contributions to this multidisciplinary field that beautifully integrates chemistry, molecular biology, and protein science".
George Smith developed a method known as phage display.
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"The breakthroughs from these researchers enable that to occur thousands of times faster than nature to improve medicines, fuels and other products", he said.
'Today's Nobel prize in chemistry highlights the tremendous role of chemistry in contributing to many areas of our lives including pharmaceuticals, detergents, green catalysis and biofuels.
The Nobel Prize in Literature has been postponed because of the institution that chooses the laureate being embroiled in a sexual assault scandal. Donna Strickland, from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, shared the physics award on Tuesday.