For discovering the TELOMERASE enzyme that all plants and animals need, three scientists won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Me dicine. It was awarded jointly to Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak,

“for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase”

Telomeres are the DNA repeats located at the ends of all chromosomes. They serve as caps that protect our DNA. But each time a cell divides, the telomeres must shorten. Critically-short telomeres are associated with deteriorating health and many diseases, like cancer.