Sir John Sulston awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine
"It's tremendously exciting for me because once again it reinforces the power of fundamental research. Our work on C. elegans at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology emphasized the benefits of sharing large amounts of information. We took a global approach to discover the mechanisms that led to the development of the worm.
Sir John Sulston, former Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
"The same is true for genomics. When results are shared freely amongst the biological community, as has been done for the worm and the Human Genome Projects, specialist scientists can move much more rapidly towards their goals. This flow of information, which builds in strength as it circulates, benefits medicine. Remember, this only the start and we need dedicated people to translate the fundamental knowledge into real healthcare benefits."
"This is founded in Sydney Brenner's vision, in setting up the worm project -- an entirely new system for developmental biology. My contribution to this was learning to watch the cells dividing, and sometimes dying, under the microscope. We could actually see programmed cell death in action, so beautiful, so clear and so reproducible. These qualities meant we could predict the moment of death, and begin the search for mutants to understand how this happened."
"That's what Bob Horvitz did -- starting at our lab in Cambridge and then powering away at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discovering what happens in these developmentally programmed cells. This was real fundamental work, but it showed that the genes involved have equivalents in humans that are involved in cancer, neurodegeneration and other diseases."
"The worm worked so well because the community held an ethos of sharing -- just as the public genome projects have -- from the beginning. We gave all our results to others as soon as we had them. From sharing, discovery is accelerated in the community. Research is hastened when people share results freely."
"Sir John's achievements rank alongside our greatest biological and medical discoveries. His C. elegans work inspired a new era in scientific research, and the sequencing of its genome was the spark that initiated the international Human Genome Project."
Dr Mike Dexter, Director of the Wellcome Trust
"These were among of the many highlights in the career of this outstanding scientist, who provided unswerving and principled leadership during his time as Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute."
"This is absolutely fantastic news! It's great for John and for British Science. I am thrilled that John's work has been honoured by the highest award. John has been instrumental in laying out several of the foundations upon which almost all experimental work in the worm depends. This began with the lineage map and extends to the genome sequence. John's vision in developing and persevering to finish the job is an inspiration to us all."
Dr Allan Bradley, who replaced Sir John as Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute