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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Princess of Asturias Awards

10/07/2020

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna, 2015 Princess of Asturias Laureates for Technical and Scientific Research, obtain the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

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The reaearchers Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna have been jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, following the recognition of their careers with the Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research on 28th May 2015.

As stated in the corresponding Minutes of the Jury for the Princess of Asturias Award, it was conferred on them “for scientific advances that have led to the development of a technology that allows genes to be modified with great precision and simplicity in all types of cells, thus enabling changes that suppose the actual ‘editing of the genome'. Both researchers studied how certain bacteria defend themselves against the viruses that infect them, destroying the DNA of these viruses after recognizing some of its specific features. Starting out from these findings, they united their efforts employing a ground-breaking approach that has enabled the development of what is known as the CRISPR-Cas system. This is a method of universal application based on the design of small molecules of RNA that guide the Cas9 enzyme to cleave DNA, thus allowing the modification of genes within cells. The application of this technology has rapidly expanded to many biological systems, resulting in a veritable revolution in Molecular Biology. The methodology allows the removal, activation, inactivation and even correction of any gene, leading to diverse applications in both basic research and in agriculture, livestock breeding and biomedicine. It thus paves the way for developing treatments for genetic diseases that currently lack effective therapies.”

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