Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna are the winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in the year 2020. The award is being shared by the two women scientists “for the development of a method for genome editing” as stated by the Nobel Prize website and official twitter handle. 51 years old Charpentier and 56 years old Doudna have become the sixth and seventh woman to win Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
The laureates were given the award for discovering gene technology’s sharpest tools, CRISPR-Cas9 DNA snipping "scissors". The Nobel Prize jury took to twitter to describe the efficiency and necessity of the scissor. According to a tweet, these scissors have the potential to alter the genes of animals, humans and microorganisms with great precision.
When #NobelPrize laureates Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna investigated the immune system of a Streptococcus bacterium they discovered a molecular tool that can be used to make precise incisions in genetic material, making it possible to easily change the code of life. pic.twitter.com/LU0JEYqLNW— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 7, 2020
The jury further explained, "In their natural form, the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors recognise DNA from viruses, but Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna – awarded this year’s #NobelPrize in Chemistry – proved that they could be controlled so that they can cut any DNA molecule at a predetermined site."
“The CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors have revolutionised the molecular life sciences, brought new opportunities for plant breeding, are contributing to innovative cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true,” the jury added.
The Nobel Prize for Chemistry includes a gold medal and a cash prize of 10 million kronor (more than 1.1 million dollars) and more than a century old bequest left by the award’s inventor Alfred Nobel.
Know About the laureates
Charpentier was born in 1968 at Juvisy-sur-Orge in France. She is currently the director of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens at Berlin in Germany. Speaking about her achievement, she said in an interview with Nobel Prize jury, “My wish is that this will provide a positive message to the young girls who would like to follow the path of science, and to show them that women in science can also have an impact through the research that they are performing.”
Doudna was born in 1964 in Washington DC of USA. She is currently a Professor of Biomedical Science, Biophysics and Structural Biology at UC Berkely and investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute News. Reportedly, as the co-founder of biotech startup Mammoth, Doudna is already using the CRISPR scissors against COVID-19. In a statement released by US Berkeley, Doudna said, "What started as a curiosity‐driven, fundamental discovery project has now become the breakthrough strategy used by countless researchers working to help improve the human condition."
A Brief History Of Women Winning Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded annually by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to scientists in the field of chemistry recognising their distinguished works. In 2018, Francis.H.Arnold became the fifth woman to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. She was awarded for conducting a directed evolution of enzymes and proteins that act as catalysts of chemical reactions. She shared her award with two male scientists.
In 1903, Marie Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel prize in Physics for her work in radioactivity. And eight years later, in 1911, she won Nobel Prize in chemistry also becoming the only woman who won multiple Nobel Prize. In 1964, for the first time, a woman scientist Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin of Britain won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry alone, without sharing it with a male or female scientist.
Picture Credit: Nobel Prize twitter.