The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna. Source: Twitter/The Nobel Prize

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to French scientist Emmanuelle Charpentier and American scientist Jennifer A. Doudna “for the 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. 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.

Chemistry Laureate Emmanuelle Charpentier said, “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.”

“There is enormous power in this genetic tool, which affects us all,” said Claes Gustafsson, chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry. “It has not only revolutionised basic science but also resulted in innovative crops and will lead to ground-breaking new medical treatments.”

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. The amount was increased recently to adjust for inflation.

The recipients were announced Wednesday in Stockholm by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize for physiology and medicine to Harvey J. Alter and Charles M. Rice and Michael Houghton for discovering the liver-ravaging hepatitis C virus.

Nobel prize for physics went to Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for their breakthroughs in understanding the mysteries of cosmic black holes.

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