Two women scientists have been awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna are to become the first two women to share the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their project known as Crispr-Cas9 “genetic scissors”, a way of making specific and precise changes to the DNA contained in living cells.

According to the BBC, the women’s technology has been transformative for basic research, as it could also be used to treat, or even cure, inherited illnesses. Biological chemist Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, commented: “The ability to cut DNA where you want has revolutionised the life sciences.” The breakthrough DNA snipping technology allowed the “code of life” to be rewritten.

On being one of the first two women to share the prize, Prof Charpentier said: “I wish that this will provide a positive message specifically for young girls who would like to follow the path of science… and to show them that women in science can also have an impact with the research they are performing (…) This is not just for women, but we see a clear lack of interest in following a scientific path, which is very worrying.”

Both women will split the prize money of 10 million krona (£861,200; $1,110,400).


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