nobel prize (5)

Women's History Month, and CRISPR...

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Topics: Biology, Chemistry, DNA, Nobel Prize, Research, Women in Science

This year’s (2020) Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to two scientists who transformed an obscure bacterial immune mechanism, commonly called CRISPR, into a tool that can simply and cheaply edit the genomes of everything from wheat to mosquitoes to humans. 

The award went jointly to Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens and Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, “for the development of a method for genome editing.” They first showed that CRISPR—which stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats—could edit DNA in an in vitro system in a paper published in the 28 June 2012 issue of Science. Their discovery was rapidly expanded on by many others and soon made CRISPR a common tool in labs around the world. The genome editor spawned industries working on making new medicines, agricultural products, and ways to control pests.

Many scientists anticipated that Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute, who showed 6 months later that CRISPR worked in mammalian cells, would share the prize. The institutions of the three scientists are locked in a fierce patent battle over who deserves the intellectual property rights to CRISPR’s discovery, which some estimate could be worth billions of dollars.

“The ability to cut DNA where you want has revolutionized the life sciences. The genetic scissors were discovered 8 years ago, but have already benefited humankind greatly,” Pernilla Wittung Stafshede, a chemical biologist at the Chalmers University of Technology, said at the prize briefing.

CRISPR was also used in one of the most controversial biomedical experiments of the past decade, when a Chinese scientist edited the genomes of human embryos, resulting in the birth of three babies with altered genes. He was widely condemned and eventually sentenced to jail in China, a country that has become a leader in other areas of CRISPR research.

Although scientists were not surprised Doudna and Charpentier won the prize, Charpentier was stunned. “As much as I have been awarded a number of prizes, it’s something you hear, but you don’t completely connect,” she said in a phone call with the Nobel Prize officials. “I was told a number of times that when it happens, you’re very surprised and feel that it’s not real.”

At a press briefing today, Doudna noted she was asleep and missed the initial calls from Sweden, only waking up to answer the phone finally when a Nature reporter called. "She wanted to know if I could comment on the Nobel and I said, Well, who won it? And she was shocked that she was the person to tell me."

CRISPR, the revolutionary genetic ‘scissors,’ honored by Chemistry Nobel, Jon Cohen, Science Magazine, AAAS

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Nobel Prize in Economics...

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Nobel Prize, Economics.

Topics: Economics, Nobel Laureate, Nobel Prize

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2020 was awarded jointly to Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson "for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats."

 The Prize in Economic Sciences 2020. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2020. Mon. 12 Oct 2020. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/economic-sciences/2020/summary/>

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Nobel Prize in Literature...

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Nobel Prize, Literature.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Laureate, Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2020 was awarded to Louise Glück "for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal."

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2020. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2020. Thu. 8 Oct 2020. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/literature/2020/summary/>

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Nobel Prize in Chemistry...

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Topics: Chemistry, Nobel Laureate, Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 was awarded jointly to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna "for the development of a method for genome editing."

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2020. Wed. 7 Oct 2020. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/chemistry/2020/summary/>

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Nobel Prize in Physics...

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Nobel Prize in Physics, 2020

Topics: Nobel Laureate, Nobel Prize, Physics

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 was divided, one half awarded to Roger Penrose “for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity”, the other half jointly to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy.”

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2020. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2020. Tue. 6 Oct 2020. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/physics/2020/summary/>

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