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Israeli Biochemists Favored for Nobel Prize

Hebrew U's Prof. Aharon Razin and Prof. Haim Cedar expected to win 2013 Nobel Prize in medicine or chemistry.
By Arutz Sheva
First Publish: 9/30/2013, 3:24 PM

Prof. Haim Cedar
Prof. Haim Cedar
Flash 90

Hebrew University biochemists Professor Aharon Razin and Professor Haim (Howard) Cedar are considered favorites to win 2013 Nobel Prize in the fields of medicine or chemistry for their research on the DNA sequence, according to numerous media reports.

The two have been named the leading candidates for their research on the DNA sequence. Official announcement of the Nobel Prize winners takes place in early October. If they win, they will share a prize totaling about $1.25 million.

Along with their Scottish colleague Adrian Bird, the two studied the changes in the DNA sequence as a result of methylation, a chemical reaction in which methyl joins a genetic sequence. 

Sequence changes may lead to illness and defects. 

Prof. Cedar, 70, was born in the United States and studied there until 1970, then made aliyah (emigrated to Israel) and continued his studies in the Hebrew University medical school in Jerusalem. 

Cedar previously received the Israel Prize in 1999 for biology and the Wolf Prize together with Razin in 2008. 

 In 2009, Cedar received the Emet Natural Science Prize, and has also received the Rothchild Prize. 

Prof. Cedar is the father of film director Joseph Cedar.

Prof. Razin, 78, received the Israel prize for his biological research in 2004. A member of the Hebrew University School of Medicine, he studied physics and mathematics at the Hebrew University, where he also earned his master's and Ph.D. degrees in biochemistry. Upon completing his studies, he went on to become a research fellow at the California Institute of Technology.

He returned to Israel in 1971, serving as a professor of cellular biochemistry and human genetics at the Hebrew University School of Medicine. In 2001, he shared the Canada Gairdner Award with Cedar for their "pioneering discoveries on DNA methylation and its role in gene expression."

In 2011, Israeli Professor Dan Schechtman received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of quasicrystals.