And the winners are......

8 October 2008 - even more biochemists

You will never see a non-biochemist cheer loudly whenever a biochemist wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. If only Nobel had the inspiration to create a separate Nobel Prize in Biology, biochemists would compete with primate scientists but not with chemists. Never mind, the 2008 winners are Roger Y. Tsien, Osamu Shimomura and Martin Chalfie and typically for the last two Wikipedia was totally unprepared and had to start a bio-page post-haste well after the Swedish announcement was made (also see earlier post). The prize has something to do with a green fluorescent protein and glow-in-the-dark pigs.

As a public service the ISI Web of Knowledge is mined for data. Roger Tsien co-published 152 articles (punching in RY Tsien, excluding reviews) in the last 20 years (ISI for some reason does not go back any further than that) and the top 6 most cited reads as follows:
* 1011 citations: ''Fluorescent Indicators for Cytosolic Calcium Based on Rhodamine and
Fluorescein Chromophores'' (1989) (Link) (open access)
* 988 citations: Fluorescent indicators for Ca2+ based on green fluorescent proteins and calmodulin (1997) (Link) about a marriage between GFP and calmodulin.
* 836 citations: Crystal structure of the Aequorea victoria green fluorescent protein (1996) (DOI). Breakthrough work by Tsien on GFP inner workings
* 817 citations: A monomeric red fluorescent protein (2002) (DOI) (open access)
* 785 citations: Emptying of intracellular Ca2+ stores releases a novel small messenger that stimulates Ca2+ influx (1993) (DOI)
* 733 citations: Wavelength mutations and posttranslational autoxidation of green fluorescent protein (1994) (Link) (open access).

Repeating the same feat for Shimomura proofs to be more difficult. Having just one initial, ISI lumps together a group of people called O. Shimomura and it is impossible to find out who the real Osamu Shimomura is. If you can label journal articles with a single DOI code surely you can label unique authors as wel.

In any event excluding all O. Shimomura's active in the physical or social sciences and skipping reviews we get to 30 articles over 20 years acknowledging that the man is retired with this top 3:
* 101 citations: Semi-synthetic aequorins with improved sensitivity to Ca2+ ions (1989 - Link - open access)
* 95 citations Recombinant aequorin and recombinant semi-synthetic aequorins. Cellular Ca2+ ion indicators (1992 Link - open access)
* 87 citations The crystal structure of the photoprotein aequorin at 2.3 angstrom resolution ( 2000 - DOI)

In the meanwhile Shimomura's original 1962 publication (Pubmed) is nowhere to be found on the internet! Publisher Wiley put out a self-congratulating press release (Link) notifying the reader one of the fresh Nobel prize winners did publish in Wiley's Journal of Cellular and Comparative Physiology but Wiley apparently has not bothered yet to make this journal accessible. It would have been a nice gesture to publish Shimomura's 1962 article together with the press release. Regrettably this blog owes you the perfect recipe for extracting GFP from jellyfish.

Finally, Chalfie's top-cited 1994 article dwarfs that of his two colleagues: 2838 citations for Green fluorescent protein as a marker for gene expression (DOI).

Quite a number of the articles mentioned here are open-access (hurray!) and it could have (2) been more: the journal Science) otherwise very generous open-access policy (requires user login but free) extends from 1997 to 2007 which is not enough to be able to include two Science articles, the ones from 1994 and 1996. Interestingly the 1996 pnas Tsien article has the disclaimer The publication costs of this article were defrayed in part by page charge payment. This article must therefore be hereby marked advertisement.