Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Dr. Jennifer A. Doudna have been been granted the award for their work creating a tool that edits DNA. These two women are the sixth and seventh women scientists to have received a Nobel Prize in this field. There have been 179 men in past years.
Dr. Charpentier expressed her wish that this would encourage young women to take up science as an option from school onwards.
Dr. Doudna spoke of the ‘collaborative spirit’ that had driven much of her work, and acknowledged the work contributed by many scientists along the way.
The 2020 prize was, in the words of Goran K. Hansson, ‘about rewriting the code of life’.
The theory the two scientists worked on is called the Crispr technology. This technology allows scientists to change the DNA of animals, plants, and micro-organs, and has so far revolutionised the molecular life sciences, bringing new opportunities for plant breeding, cancer therapies and potentially paving the way for curing inherited diseases.
Both scientists have worked for years in their field of chemistry, and the rewards have only come after many years of serious research and commitment to their work.
The technology has raised both ethical and moral questions as it has raised the questions around both its potential and contentious risks as it has the ability to modify DNA.
The doctors will split the prize, worth AUD$1,578,335.
Ref: Jessie Tu. Woman’s Agenda
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