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Genome editing pioneers Emmanuelle Charpentier (Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin, Germany) and Jennifer A. Doudna (University of California, Berkeley, USA) have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020.
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They developed the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system – a promising technique using genetic scissors to edit DNA with extremely high precision.

“There is enormous power in this genetic tool, which affects us all. It has not only revolutionised basic science, but also resulted in innovative crops and will lead to ground-breaking new medical treatments,” stated Claes Gustafsson, chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry.

Since Charpentier and Doudna discovered the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors in 2012 their use has exploded. This tool has contributed to many important discoveries in basic research, and plant researchers have been able to develop crops that withstand mould, pests and drought. In medicine, clinical trials of new cancer therapies are underway, and the dream of being able to cure inherited diseases is about to come true. These genetic scissors have taken the life sciences into a new epoch in geographic areas where regulations do not limit their use.

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