The two women are the first pair to jointly win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, and the sixth and seventh women to win overall.
Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A Doudna have made history with their Nobel Prize for Chemistry win. The duo was awarded the prestigious honor for the development of a method for genome editing. Together, they discovered one of gene technology's sharpest tools—CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors. These "scissors" allow researchers to change the DNA of animals, plants, and micro-organisms with extremely high precision, unlike never before. Göran K Hansson, secretary-general for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said this year's win would "rewrite the code of life," CNN reports. The achievement is particularly special as men have, for decades now, dominated the field. We have now set a precedent for gender equality.
Already, the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing tools have transformed the molecular life sciences. As per a press release from the Nobel Prize committee, they have presented new opportunities for plant breeding, are contributing to innovative cancer therapies, and could finally make the dream of curing inherited diseases a possibility. Though there are some ethical concerns about CRISPR technology, there is no doubt that Doudna and Charpentier's discovery is an imperative innovation. The two women are the first to jointly win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, and the sixth and seventh women to win overall.
Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna received the 2020 #NobelPrize for their work on CRISPR, a powerful genome-editing tool.— Vox (@voxdotcom) October 7, 2020
It’s the first time women scientists have been awarded the chemistry Nobel Prize without a male collaborator. https://t.co/0bt0NVIzoO
At a news conference on Wednesday, Charpentier hoped their victory would send 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." Tom Welton, the president of the Royal Society of Chemistry, expressed the same sentiments. "I am also hugely pleased to see that the Nobel committee has chosen to honor two leading women in active research," he said. "Their teamwork is an example of how scientific breakthroughs are based on a truly global community of researchers and they can become role models for aspiring scientists of all genders."
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
Doudna was born in Washington, DC, and is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, whereas Charpentier was born in Juvisy-sur-Orge, France. She is the director of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin, Germany. They plan to split this year's prize of 10 million Swedish kronor, which is about $1.1 million. Unlike scientists before them, the duo's Nobel recognition has come fairly quickly, in under a decade. Typically, Nobel Prizes are based on research achieved two, three, or more decades ago. Ever since Charpentier and Doudna discovered the CRISPR/Cas9 tools eight years ago, the technology has already contributed massively to many important discoveries in basic research. For instance, plant researchers have been able to develop crops that withstand mold, pests, and drought thanks to their innovation.
In 2011, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna had no idea that their first meeting, in a café in Puerto Rico, would be life-changing.— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 7, 2020
Read more about their discovery that reshaped the life sciences and has led to the 2020 #NobelPrize in Chemistry: https://t.co/PCa3Br2HSb pic.twitter.com/R0zMeYQlmW