Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 2020
The Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 2020 has been awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A Doudna for “Development of a method for Genome Editing”. The scientists had developed the Gene Editing Technique called “CRISPR-Cas9 Snipping Scissors”.
The researchers can change the DNA of animals using the Gene Editing Technique invented by the Nobel Laureates. The technology has had revolutionary impact on life sciences contributing to new cancer therapies. It has potentials to cure inherited diseases.
What is CRISPR-Cas9?
CRISPR-Cas9 is the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats CRISPR Associated protein 9. It is used to change entire gentic code or edit DNA at particular locations. The technology is a simple to edit genomes. It allows researchers to modify gene function.
Gene contains bio-information defining an individual. The physical attributes such as skin colour, height, hair colour and other behavioural traits are encoded in genes. These attributes can be changed by changing the genes. This method of changing these bio-information is called Gene editing.
Working of CRISPR-Cas9
It works as cut and paste mechanism on DNA Strands. The genetic codes that need to be changed are identified. The Cas9 protein is used as a pair of scissors to cut off a part from the strand. The stand when broken has a tendency to repair itself. This way a damaged DNA strands can be removed and help the human body restore to a healthy state.
The method is advantageous as it is cheap, quick, easy, safe and more accurate. It is now used to modify disease causing genes in embryos.
The method also has potentials to create potential weapon of mass destruction. It might become a toll to select desired characteristics such as attractiveness and intelligence.
The Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been awarded 112 times between 1901 and 2020. Around 185 individuals have received the award.
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