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Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to two female scientists who discovered ‘genetic scissors’

2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry Two Women winners

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to French professor Emmanuelle Charpentier and US biochemist Jennifer A. Doudna for their genome editing method.

In the statement of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, it was stated that Charpentier and Doudna were awarded for their work on the development of genetic modification methods. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna were the first women to share the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work in gene shaping technology.

Professor of the Max Planck Pathogen Science Unit in Benlin. Charpentier said he had emotional moments when he found out that he had won the award.

“I hope these young girls will have a positive message in their entry into the science path, and it can show that women who do science can also have an impact in research fields,” said Chapentier, regarding being the first two female scientists to share the award.

Prof. During his studies on the bacterium Charpehtier Streptoccocus pyogenes, he discovered a previously unknown molecule called tracrRNA. Their work showed that tracrRNA is part of the organism’s immune system.

Crispr-Cas disarms viruses by shearing their DNA like genetic scissors.

After Charpentier published his work in 2011, Prof. He started collaborating with Doudna.

Together, the two recreated the bacteria’s genetic scissors in a test tube. They simplified the molecular structure of the scissors to make it easier to use.

Bacterial scissors are able to distinguish DNA in its natural form from viruses. But Charpantier and Doudna, in their 2012 study, showed that scissors can be reprogrammed anywhere, to trim any DNA molecule.

Since the discovery of the Crispr-Cas9 genetic scissors, its use has exploded. While many scientific discoveries are made with this tool, clinical studies of new cancer treatments are being carried out in medicine.

Technology also holds the promise of treating hereditary diseases. There is currently research on the treatment of sickle cell anemia, which affects millions of people.

But some are concerned that Crispr could be used to bed “designer dolls” before the necessary rules are in place. When genetically modified children grow up and have children themselves, changes in their genes can be passed down over generations, which can have permanent consequences for the human population.

It was said that this breakthrough technology was not awarded a Nobel Prize due to a longstanding patent struggle in the United States.

The patent war is between Charpentier and Doudna’s group at Berkeley University, MIT and the Harvard Broad Institute.
The dispute is about the use of eukaryotic cells in the Crispr technique.

Both institutions claim that their experts made this discovery.


Element - Mulierlife News Editor, Magazine, popular people, Researcher author.

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