American biochemist Jennifer Doudna and French microbiologist Emmanuelle Charpentier awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing method for genome editing

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American biochemist Jennifer A. Doudna and French microbiologist Emmanuelle Charpentier were on Wednesday awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing a method for genome editing.

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Charpentier and Doudna are the first women to jointly win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and the sixth and seventh women to win the chemistry prize.

The laureates discovered one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors that allow researchers to change the DNA of animals, plants and micro-organisms with extremely high precision.

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Göran K. Hansson, secretary-general for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said this year’s prize was about “rewriting the code of life.”

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The CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tools have revolutionized the molecular life sciences and brought new opportunities for plant breeding.

They are also contributing to innovative cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true.

On Tuesday, the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three scientists for discoveries about black holes, also known as “the darkest secrets of universe.”

One half of the prize went to Roger Penrose and the other half jointly to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez.

A black hole is defined as a region of spacetime where gravity is so strong that nothing—no particles or even electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from it. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass can deform spacetime to form a black hole.

On Monday, the 2020 Nobel Prize in Medicine was jointly awarded to the US-UK trio of Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice on Monday for the discovery of hepatitis C virus, which led to the development of tests and treatments.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry will be announced on Wednesday, followed by the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday.

The Nobel Peace Prize would be announced on Friday and the Prize in Economic Sciences next Monday.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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