Ground-breaking work on the genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death has won three researchers the 2002 Nobel Prize in Medicine. The research led to a new understanding of diseases ranging from cancer to strokes to AIDS.

The trio have “opened possibilities to follow cell division and differentiation from the fertilised egg to the adult” and identified “key genes regulating organ development,” the jury said. “The discoveries are important for medical research and have shed new light on the pathogenesis of many diseases.”