An example might look like this, without implying that anything of the kind really happened. Real names are used only to make the example more plausible.
The Human Genome Project was largely completed in 2000 [21, 22]. The names of Francis Collins and Craig Venter became very familiar to the entire world during the most competitive final three years of sequencing . Sequencing of the human genome was a huge investment by the scientific community and the grant-giving nations behind it. It was clear that it had significant benefits for humankind and would fundamentally change ways of thinking and working in biology. It was generally expected that the project would somehow be honored by a Nobel Prize.
However, the key person who catalyzed the project, and saved it from bankruptcy, was Craig Venter, a scientist and entrepreneur. He was working for himself and his company, Celera, meanwhile serving humankind (there are many similarities between him and A. Nobel). Celera was selling the sequences to other scientists and patenting them for future biotechnological applications. This made Venter unpopular in the economically rather naïve scientific community.
The second best candidate was Francis Collins, the head of the Human Genome Project, HGP, at the NIH. He is a talented, highly social person with good organizing skills. However, his academic organization became famous for its slowness and expensiveness. Many academic scientists used the project for comfortable living for decades with no end in the sight. Additionally, Collins is an openly and deeply religious scientist, a Christian one, which irritates many others.
Number three in the sequencing arena was John E. Sulston, the director of the newly established Sanger Centre, located in Cambridgeshire, England. He and his Centre significantly contributed to the success of the HGP but were still far behind Collins and Venter.
The Collins-Venter-Sulston trio could have been the ideal laureates for the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 2002. This did not happen. The Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute made the policy decision to choose another research area to honor, which kept Sulston (and the HGP) on the nominee list but rejected Collins and Venter. Honoring Sulston for research on C. elegans (a worm) instead of sequencing the human genome (a human) gave a “free ride” to the Nobel Prize for Sydney Brenner and H. Robert Horvitz, who both happened to be Jews. A J-bias was born, though the benefits of C. elegans for humankind remain to be seen.