The winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020: genius and perseverance
Never was a prize more deserved. The initial discovery was made by Emmanuelle Charpentier, of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens. While studying the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes, discovered a new molecule later called tracrRNA, which plays an important role in the insect's immune system.
Just like our immune system, bacteria retain a "memory" of the viruses that infect them in order to defend against future infections. To do this, the tracrRNA molecule extracts a section of the virus's DNA and inserts it into the bacterium's genome, so the next time they encounter that pathogen they can recognize and disarm it.
After Charpentier published this discovery in 2011, he teamed up with Jennifer Doudna UC Berkeley, who had studied a class of bacterial proteins called Cas that functioned very similarly to tracrRNA. Together, Charpentier and Doudna were able to reprogram the CRISPR / Cas system so that it could recognize not just viral DNA, but any target sequences, and make a cut.
CRISPR can change humanity
The gene editing technique perfected by the two winners of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (the first to be shared between two women) is very young. Although theorized since 1987, CRISPR found its real application only 8 years ago, in 2012.
And in 8 years it has already begun to show what revolutions it can be capable of.
Probably, looking back in a few decades we will discover that a very important piece of the future was born with CRISPR. Congratulations to the scientists for this deserved Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020.
Gianluca Riccio, born in 1975, is the creative director of an advertising agency, copywriter and journalist. He is affiliated with Italian Institute for the Future, World Future Society and H +, Network of Italian Transhumanists. Since 2006 he directs Futuroprossimo.it, the Italian resource of Futurology.
Futuroprossimo.it is an Italian resource of futurology opened since 2006: every day news about the near future. Scientific discoveries, medical research, prototypes, concepts and predictions about the future for free.
Gianluca Riccio, copywriter and journalist - Born in 1975, he is the creative director of an advertising agency, he is affiliated with the Italian Institute for the Future, World Future Society and H +, Network of Italian Transhumanists.