Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 announced
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Science and Technology
- Emmanuelle Charpentier of France and Jennifer Doudna of the U.S. won the Nobel Chemistry Prize for the gene-editing technique known as the CRISPR-Cas9 DNA snipping “scissors” tool.
- It is the first time a Nobel science prize has gone to a women-only team.
- Using the CRISPR-Cas9 DNA snipping “scissors” tool, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision.
- The CRISPR-Cas9 tool has already contributed to significant gains in crop resilience, altering their genetic code to better withstand drought and pests.
- The technology has also led to innovative cancer treatments.
- Many experts hope it could one day make inherited diseases curable through gene manipulation.
- CRISPR’s relative simplicity and widespread applicability has, however, triggered the imaginations of rogue practitioners.
- In 2018 in China, scientist He Jiankui caused an international scandal when he used CRISPR to create what he called the first gene-edited humans.