Stockholm: French scientist Emmanuelle Charpentier and American Jennifer A Doudna were awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry Wednesday for developing a method of genome editing known as CRISPR. The names of the recipients Nobel Prize in chemistry were announced here by Goran Hansson, Secretary General of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
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 Nobel Committee had awarded Monday the prize for physiology and medicine to Americans Harvey J Alter, Charles M Rice and British-born scientist Michael Houghton for discovering the liver-ravaging Hepatitis C virus. Tuesday’s prize for physics went to Roger Penrose of Britain, Reinhard Genzel of Germany and Andrea Ghez of the United States for their breakthroughs in understanding the mysteries of cosmic black holes.
“Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna have discovered one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement on awarding the prize.
“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,” the Academy said in the statement.
“The ability to cut the DNA where you want has revolutionized the life sciences” Pernilla Wittung Stafshede, member of the Academy of Sciences, told reporters.
Charpentier, who is French, and Doudna, an American, become the sixth and seventh women to win a Nobel for chemistry, joining the likes of Marie Curie, who won in 1911, and more recently, Frances Arnold, in 2018.
In keeping with tradition, chemistry is the third prize announced every year and follows those for medicine and physics earlier this week.
The other prizes are for outstanding work in the fields of literature, peace and economics. The announcements will be made shortly.