The Women Behind CRISPR
Jennifer Doduna and Emmanuelle Charpentier: the two praised scientists responsible for discovering the new CRISPR technology. Charpentier and Doduna met at a conference in Puerto Rico, quickly discovering their combined potential. Emmanuelle Charpentier, born in France, swore that she would one day make an impact in the field of medicine. After studying microbiology, biochemistry, and genetics in Paris, she understood that she was meant to be a researcher.
Jennifer Doduna, contrastingly, had never known she would be a researcher. After studying biochemistry at Pomona college, she went on to grad school, studying biochemistry at Harvard University. Through studying RNA molecules, Doduna was able to focus on developing new types of ribosomes.
What is CRISPR?
Jennifer Doduna and Emmanuelle Charpentier have discovered a genetic-cutting tool that will be life-changing for the science fields: CRISPR. Winners of the 2020 Chemistry Nobel Prize, the two scientists were able to prove the ability to edit the human genome. In addition, the new technology can change the DNA of both animals and plants. This discovery, scientists hope, could have major benefits to humankind and the environment. For instance, it could reduce pathogens, abolish diseases, and create more robust plants.
How will CRISPR Change Science?
Already, CRISPR has been beneficial to science and research. For example, plant researchers have been able to create hardier crops that are more able to endure mould, pests, and drought. Additionally, medicine researchers have discovered various new cancer therapies which will hopefully extend to the curing of diseases. Animal researchers have been creating pigs resistant to disease as well as pigs whose organs could be compatible for human transplants. Biomedical researchers used the technology to cure mice with a debilitating muscle condition. Entomologists are looking into the potential of changing the genes of wild mosquitos in order to reduce the spread of viruses such as malaria and Zika.
Women in Science
As women in science are often overlooked, this Nobel Prize win is major. For the first time in history, a team of only women have won this Nobel Prize. Although women are socialized early on to act and think certain ways, people like Jennifer Doduna and Emmanuelle Charpentier can hopefully spur confidence and proactivity in generations to come. Moreover, things are already looking up as increasingly, more women enter science fields.
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