Once again, the Nobel Prize recognizes the most revolutionary and innovative scientific discoveries that have the highest potential to transform humankind. Drs. Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, both biochemists, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 “for the development of a method for genome editing,” known as CRISPR.
This RNA-guided tool allows to change specific DNA sequences of cells in a very precise way, as to reverse deleterious genetic mutations responsible for human diseases. Once the selected section of a DNA is cut, it can be replaced with new genetic information correcting the mutation or providing new functions. This technique was originally observed as a natural way for bacteria to fight off viral infections, but as Doudna and Charpentier elucidated the mechanisms behind this adaptive bacterial immune response, these scientists realized that the CRISPR machinery could potentially be used as a molecular scissor to edit the genome of agricultural plants, and to cure human diseases. [Read more…] about CRISPR in the Nobel spotlight – UM researchers aim to improve CRISPR and use it to target cancer