Two women jointly win Nobel Prize for chemistry for first time in history


The award increases the number of women who have won a Nobel Prize in this category from five to seven.


Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier and Professor Jennifer Doudna have won the 2020 Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work developing a method for genome editing.

Emmanuelle Charpentier教授和Jennifer Doudna教授因开发出一种基因组编辑方法而获得2020年诺贝尔化学奖。

The award takes the number of women who have ever won the Nobel Prize in chemistry from five to seven.


Both scientists will equally share 10 million Swedish kronor (£866,000) for their discovery of "one of gene technology's sharpest tools" - the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technique, or "genetic scissors" as the committee described it.


"Using these [scissors], researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision," said the Nobel committee.


"This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true."


It is the first time the Nobel Prize for chemistry has been awarded to two women in the same year in its 119-year history.


"There is enormous power in this genetic tool, which affects us all," said Claes Gustafsson, chair of the Nobel Committee for chemistry.

诺贝尔化学委员会主席克拉斯·古斯塔夫松(Claes Gustafsson)表示:“这种基因工具具有巨大的力量,它影响着我们所有人。”

"It has not only revolutionised basic science, but also resulted in innovative crops and will lead to ground-breaking new medical treatments,"


The discovery was described as an unexpected result of Professor Charpentier studying the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes.


She discovered a previously unknown molecule, tracrRNA, in the bacteria and found that this molecule was part of an ancient immune system, CRISPR/Cas, that disarms viruses by cleaving their DNA.


"In an epoch-making experiment, they then reprogrammed the genetic scissors.


"In their natural form, the scissors recognise DNA from viruses, but Charpentier and Doudna proved that they could be controlled so that they can cut any DNA molecule at a predetermined site.


"Where the DNA is cut it is then easy to rewrite the code of life," the Nobel committee added.