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Gene-Editing Tool CRISPR Wins The Chemistry Nobel

Turning a bacterial defense mechanism into one of the most powerful tools in genetics has earned Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier the Nobel Prize in chemistry. 

The award for these genetic scissors, called CRISPR/Cas 9, is “a fantastic prize,” Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, a member of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, said at an Oct. 7 news conference held in Stockholm by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to announce the prize. “The ability to cut the DNA where you want has revolutionized the life sciences. We can now easily edit genomes as desired — something that before was hard, or even impossible.”  An essay writer is a person whose job is to create articles about genetic information as well.

“The genetic scissors were discovered just eight years ago, but have already benefited humankind greatly,” she said. “Only imagination sets the limits for what this chemical tool … can be used for in the future. Perhaps the dream of curing genetic diseases will come true.” She later amended the statement to say that ethics and law are also important to determine what can and should be done with the tool, as some human gene editing is extremely controversial.

 

 

Only five other women have ever won the Nobel Prize in chemistry. “I wish that this would provide a positive message specifically to the young … girls who would like to follow the path of science, and I think to show them that women in science can also be awarded prizes, but more importantly that women in science can also have an impact through the research that they are performing,” Charpentier said in response to a question during the news conference.

 

CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. In essence, these short, repeating bits of DNA sandwich bacteria’s version of the FBI’s most wanted list — invading viruses. Every time bacteria encounter a virus, they take a DNA mug shot of it and file it in between the repeats. The next time the bacteria encounters that virus, they make RNA copies of the mug shots. Those RNA photocopies then team up with another bit of RNA known as a trans-activating CRISPR RNA, or tracrRNA, to form an all-points bulletin known as a guide RNA. Guide RNAs shepherd the DNA-cutting enzyme Cas9 to the virus, where the enzyme chops and eliminates the threat. The writer assigned to write my essay for me task related to genetic content is qualified to the same academic level or higher than your writing requirements.

Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, and Charpentier, now director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, met in 2011 at a conference in Puerto Rico. “We walked around Old San Juan and talked about CRISPR/Cas9,” Doudna recalled during a virtual news conference October 7. The scientists decided to team up to study the bacterial defense system and ended up turning it into a gene editor. Their innovation was to fuse the mug shot RNA to the tracrRNA, creating a single guide RNA. And the researchers realized that the mugshots didn’t have to be molecular pictures of viruses. Instead, by replacing the mug shot with RNA that matches a gene, the scientists could direct Cas9 to snip that gene — or any gene, really.

“The seminal paper they published together has been cited more than 9,500 times — approximately once every eight hours since its publication in 2012,” says David Liu, a chemical biologist and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Harvard University. Liu and others have altered the original CRISPR system so that researchers can use it in a variety of ways. The writer assigned to write my essay request about genetic topic is qualified to the same academic level or higher than your writing requirements.

The win was “extremely highly anticipated. I think everyone has been talking about CRISPR [as a Nobel contender] for a long time now,” says Luis Echegoyen, a chemist at the University of Texas at El Paso and president of the American Chemical Society. Even though the gestation period from discovery to Nobel Prize is typically much longer, the award for CRISPR is “long overdue,” says Echegoyen. 

CRISPR’s promise was immediately apparent, says Stanley Qi, a bioengineer and biotechnologist at Stanford University. As a student in Doudna’s lab, Qi had a ringside seat to the discovery and knew then that CRISPR would do great things. “In these eight years there have been so many breakthroughs and advances,” he says, “it’s far beyond my expectations.” 

Doudna and Charpentier “have continued to look at the broad category of CRISPR” enzymes, Qi says. Their ongoing work has contributed new insight into the evolution and the mechanisms behind how the bacterial system works. Doudna’s work to define the structure and function of the Cas9 enzyme laid the groundwork for improving the accuracy and efficiency of gene editing, he says. Hire a reliable free essay writer who will create an original content about essay and deliver it on time.

Many researchers have now taken these genetic scissors to the next step, using CRISPR/Cas9 to cut and edit genes in human cells. Scientists rave about how cheap, versatile and easy to use CRISPR is.

With CRISPR’s great power comes great controversy, Doudna warned in her 2017 book A Crack in Creation with coauthor Samuel Sternberg. While the gene editor might be used to stamp out invasive species and prevent mosquitoes from carrying disease, it might also drive entire species extinct or create ecological disasters.