Nobel Prize goes to DNA engineers

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- Americans Mario R. Capecchi, Oliver Smithies and Briton Martin J. Evans won the 2007 Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for developing a technology for manipulating genes in mice.

The trio has been awarded the prize for a series of "groundbreaking discoveries concerning embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in mammals." This has led to a powerful technology commonly known as gene targeting in mice.

In its citation, the award committee said that the use of gene targeting has shed light on embryonic development, aging and disease.

The process has been used to help study such diseases as cystic fibrosis, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The medicine prize was the first of the six prestigious awards to be announced this year. The others are chemistry, physics, literature, peace and economics.

The prizes are handed out every year on Dec. 10, the anniversary of award founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.

Posted by LS

CBS and Associated Press contributed to this report.