In a press release on its website the Academy of Sciences motivated their decision by saying that the uniqueness of genetic makeups was "a startling contradiction to the prevailing theories when it was discovered in the 1960s."
Lewontin's research showed that genetic variation between individuals in a group was many times greater than what had been previously been thought. An individual's genes are as distinct as fingerprints, the press release says.
Ohta used these new understandings to reassess theories about natural selection and found a far more complex picture, rife with pointless mutations.
Over a number of decades the geneticists continued to make contributions to the understanding genetic variation, the press release states.