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The Nobel Prize in Chemistry rewards the development of a tool for genome editing

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna in recognition of their major contribution to the development of "molecular scissors" inspired by the prokaryotic biological system CRISPR-Cas.

The accompanying text produced by the Nobel Committee recalls the history of the discovery, including the contribution of I2BC members. In 2005, an I2BC team was one of three groups that discovered the role of the CRISPR-Cas system, an acquired immunity system in bacteria and archaea. Several teams were immediately interested in this system, which will be characterized in detail before the end of the 2000s. This understanding opened the way for the biotechnological developments that are now being honored. E. Charpentier and J. Doudna have defined a two-component system that can be rapidly programmed to allow a sequence-specific cut of a DNA target. The revolution in genome editing was launched, opening up multiple perspectives in fundamental research as well as in medical, agronomic or environmental applied researches.

To know more
- Jinek et al. A Programmable Dual-RNA–Guided DNA Endonuclease in Adaptive Bacterial Immunity. Science (2012) 337 : 816-821. doi : 10.1126/science.1225829

- Scientific Background on the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020

- History of the discovery of CRISPR-Cas and their use as molecular scissors
Lander. The Heroes of CRISPR, Cell (2016) 164 : 18-28. doi : 10.1016/j.cell.2015.12.041

- CRISPR/Cas sequence search website
Couvin et al. CRISPRCasFinder, an update of CRISRFinder, includes a portable version, enhanced performance and integrates search for Cas proteins. Nucleic Acids Research (2018) 46 : W246–W251. doi : 10.1093/nar/gky425

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