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Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to two women scientists for their work on genome editing

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was jointly awarded Wednesday to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna for their 2012 work on CRISPR-Cas9, a method to edit DNA. The announcement marks the first time the award has gone to two women. “This year’s prize is about rewriting the code of life,” Goran K. Hansson, secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said as he announced the names of the laureates. Charpentier and Doudna, only the sixth and seventh women in history to win a chemistry prize, did much of the pioneering work to turn molecules made by microbes into a tool for customizing genes — whether in microbes, plants, animals or even humans. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna. Image credit: Twitter “I’m over the moon; I’m in shock,” Doudna, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said at a news conference Wednesday. It has been only eight years since Doudna and Charpentier — now the director of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens in Berlin — co-authored their first paper demonstrating the power of CRISPR-Cas9. Since then, technology has exploded. Doctors are testing it as a cure for genetic disorders such as sickle cell disease and hereditary blindness. Plant scientists are using it to create new crops. Some researchers are even trying to use CRISPR to bring species back from extinction.

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