The Swedish Academy of Sciences recognized the contribution of the researchers from France and the United States to “rewrite the code of life” thanks to the “Crispr scissors”. Only five women had won the award
October 7, 2020 Share on FacebookShare Share on TwitterTweet Share on WhatsAppShare
The announcement of the winners (Reuters)
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded this Wednesday to the French Emmanuelle Charpentier and the American Jennifer Doudna for their work on the ” Crispr scissors “, which allow cutting a precise gene.
The award is about ” rewriting the code of life, ” the Swedish Academy said in its announcement. The discovery of the geneticists “contributes to developing new therapies against cancer and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases a reality,” the jury in Stockholm stressed.
The mechanism is easy, inexpensive and allows scientists to cut DNA exactly where it is needed, for example to create or correct a genetic mutation and treat rare diseases.
This is an indisputable advance, which is why they were already hailed as favorites for the award, even though it is a recent discovery and remains the subject of patent disputes.
Genetic scissors have revolutionized molecular life sciences, provided new opportunities for plant breeding, are contributing to innovative cancer therapies, and can make the dream of curing inherited diseases a reality. Using them, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants, and microorganisms with extremely high precision.
Charpentier and Doudna investigated the immune system of a Streptococcus bacterium and discovered a molecular tool that can be used to make precise incisions in genetic material, allowing the code of life to be easily changed.
Jennifer A. Doudna, 56, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, 51 (EFE)
The geneticists will share a prize of 10 million Swedish crowns (just over a million dollars).
Only five women had won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry since 1901, compared to 183 men: Marie Curie (1911), her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie (1935), Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (1964), Ada Yonath (2009) and Frances Arnold (2018) ).
The 2019 Chemistry award went to a trio: the American John Goodenough – then 97 years old – the British Stanley Whittingham and the Japanese Akira Yoshino for the invention of lithium-ion batteries, present in many technologies.
Medicine opened the 2020 Nobel Prize season on Monday with the consecration of Americans Harvey Alter and Charles Rice, along with British Michael Houghton, for their role in the discovery of the virus that causes hepatitis C.
The Physics prize went to the British Roger Penrose, the German Reinhard Genzel and the American Andrea Ghez, three pioneers in space research on “black holes”.
The Swedish Academy will announce on Thursday the Prize for Literature , the most anticipated along with the Peace Prize , which will be announced on Friday in Oslo.
The critics consulted by the AFP mentioned a fortnight of nobelisbles in Literature, with profiles that go from the American-Caribbean Jamaica Kincaid to the Albanian Ismail Kadaré through the Canadian Anne Carson or the French Michel Houellebecq.
As for Peace , the experts lean towards freedom of the press or Greta Thunberg and young people who fight for the climate.
Economics , the only reward not foreseen in the Swedish inventor's will, will close the season next Monday.
(With information from AFP)