The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 was awarded today to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna “for the development of a method for genome editing” called CRISPR.
Genetic scissors: The Nobel Committee cited Doudna and Charpentier for an “epoch-making” experiment in 2012 in which they determined how to use CRISPR to cut DNA at sites of their choosing. Since then, the “genetic scissors” technology has revolutionized lab research and has already been tested on patients as a way to cure blindness and sickle-cell disease. It has also been used to create gene-altered corn, pigs, and dogs—and, more controversially, humans. The technique is so powerful because it’s simple to use, involving just one specialized DNA-cutting protein and a “guide” molecule that can direct it anywhere in a genome.
The split: The prize is the first Nobel to be shared only by two women. But after their groundbreaking collaboration, the team quickly