The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Wednesday awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna for “development of a method for genome editing”.
“Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna have discovered one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors,” the Academy said in a statement.
“Using these, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants, and microorganisms with extremely high precision. This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies, and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true,” it added.
Charpentier, who is French, and Doudna, an American, become the sixth and seventh women to win a Nobel for chemistry, joining the like of Marie Curie (1911) and Frances Arnold (2018).
The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and prize money of 10 million krona (more than $1.1 million), courtesy of a bequest left more than a century ago by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel.
Earlier on Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize for physiology and medicine to Americans Harvey J. Alter and Charles M. Rice and British-born scientist Michael Houghton for discovering the liver-ravaging hepatitis C virus.
On Tuesday, the prize for physics went to Roger Penrose of Britain, Reinhard Genzel of Germany and Andrea Ghez of the United States for their breakthroughs in understanding the mysteries of cosmic black holes.
The other prizes are for outstanding work in the fields of literature, peace and economics.