Associate Professor of Biology David C. Page is one of three winners of the Amory Prize for Reproductive Biology awarded by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Page was recognized along with two Englishmen, Peter Good-fellow of SmithKline Beecham and Robin H. Lovell-Badge of the MRC National Institute for Medical Research, for discovering the SRY gene, a gene carried by men that determines whether a woman's fertilized egg develops into a male. He is also associate director of the Whitehead/MIT Center for Genome Research and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher.
The Amory Prize was bestowed for the first time in five years for solving "one of the central problems in biology, namely how the two sexes form," the AAAS said. Among those presiding at the ceremony was Paul R. Schimmel, chairman of the Academy's Amory Prize Committee and the John D. and Catherine T. Mac-Arthur Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
Professor Page was recognized for developing the first map of the Y chromosome that identified the approximate location of the SRY gene. His team subsequently characterized the region of the Y chromosome that exchanges with the X chromosome, as well as regions on Y that contain genes for stature, development of testicular tumors and common forms of male infertility.
Professor Page's co-winners used his gene map along with cloning techniques to isolate the male-determining gene in mice and men. The AAAS also cited the three scientists' achievement for shedding light on the pathophysiology of a major class of human disorders including hermaphroditism.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 12, 1997.