The inventor of “gene scissors” won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Chinese scientist Zhang Feng missed the award
Although the temperature in Sweden has now dropped to 10°C, it is still a "hot spot" in the world at this moment.
The Nobel Prize Ceremony, which was postponed due to the epidemic, was late, and the Nobel Prizes in each category were announced in turn. Now, there is only one suspense in the Nobel natural science community-the Chemistry Prize.
Just now, the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was announced .
Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer a. Doudna were awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their development of a new genome editing method .
It is worth mentioning that in history, only 5 women have won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and Madame Curie is one of them.
The two winners this year are also the sixth and seventh women in history to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
How significant is their invention?
Maybe you haven't heard of the two scientists, but you must have heard of gene editing, a scientific field that has caused great controversy all the year round.
Carpentier and Dudner discovered one of the most powerful tools in gene technology: CRISPR/Cas9 gene scissors.
Through these technologies and tools, people can modify the DNA of animals, plants, and microorganisms with extreme precision.
Now, CRISPR/Cas9 gene scissors have revolutionized the molecular life sciences and brought new possibilities for plant breeding.
At the same time, it has also contributed to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing genetic diseases a reality.
Chinese scientist Zhang Feng has actually made important contributions to the development and application of CRISPR, but because Carpentier and Dudner are the founders of CRISPR, Nobel may be more inclined to award it to the pioneers of new technologies. Therefore, it is difficult for Fengfeng to win the Nobel Prize.
Returning to the two award-winning scientists, Carpentier is a well-known microbiologist, now working in the Pathology Laboratory of Max Planck in Berlin, Germany, and Dudner is an American biologist at the University of California, Berkeley Professor of Chemistry, Molecular Biology and Cell Biology at the branch school.
It can be said that Carpentier is the "Cinderella" among scientists.
▲Picture from: L'Express
In the eyes of her colleagues, she looks "black, thin and small", but she is strong, humble, and ambitious.
Carpentier has been determined to do something to promote the development of medicine since she was a child. In the past 20 years, she has been to 5 different countries and worked in 9 different universities.
She continued to build new laboratories and started from scratch. Before the age of 45, she didn't even have the funds to hire a technician for a long time.
▲ Picture from: Jean Pierre Lavergne
Carpentier’s doctoral supervisor, Professor Culvarin of the Pasteur Institute, believes that "she is so resourceful that she can build a laboratory on a desert island."
The effort paid off. In a study of Streptococcus pyogenes, Carpentier discovered an unknown molecule tracrRNA.
Streptococcus pyogenes is one of the bacteria that cause the greatest harm to humans, and Carpentier breaks the bacteria by cutting the virus's DNA with tracrRNA.
She published new discoveries about gene editing in 2011. In the same year, Carpentier and senior biochemist Dudner began to collaborate.
▲ Picture from: El Español
In an epoch-making experiment, they reprogrammed the gene scissors (CRISPR). First, they allowed the gene scissors to recognize the DNA in the virus in its natural form, and they could control it, and then cut any DNA molecule at a predetermined position. Write the password of life.
In the past, if people wanted to discover the inner workings of life, they had to modify the genes in cells, but this was a time-consuming, difficult, and almost impossible task.
Now, they can change the life cycle of creatures within a few weeks.
Kras Gustafson, Chairman of the Nobel Committee on Chemistry, said:
This genetic tool has tremendous power and it will affect all of us. Because it not only revolutionized basic science, but also created groundbreaking new therapies in the future.
This brings life sciences into a new era.
The "advanced" Nobel Prize in Chemistry has changed the life of every ordinary person
Except for Mo Yan and Tu Youyou, you may not have any impression of the other Nobel Prize winners.
But the Nobel Prize in Chemistry may be the closest prize to our daily lives.
Everything around us is made of chemical elements, but it has been lurking in the dark so that people ignore it.
A hundred years ago, Alfred Nobel made a will and established the Nobel Prize. He is a chemist.
He has 355 patented inventions in his lifetime, from the initial explosives to electrochemistry, optics, biology, physiology, etc., among his many achievements in promoting the industrial process, most of them are based on chemical knowledge.
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded 112 times, and a total of 186 people have won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
John Goodenough, who won the award last year, won the prize for developing lithium-ion batteries. At the age of 97, he became the oldest winner in the history of the Nobel Prize.
Lithium electronic batteries entered the market in 1991, and since then our lives have become a "rechargeable world." The Nobel Prize official website stated last year :
This invention laid the foundation for a wireless, fossil-fuel-free society and greatly promoted human development.
Now, mobile phones, laptops, and electric cars are inseparable from lithium electronic batteries. Although the energy track is still a long-distance relay race, it has opened the door to a new world for us.
▲ 97-year-old John Goodenough. Picture from: University of Texas at Austin
Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903, and she was also the first person in the world to win the Nobel Prize twice.
Madame Curie won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911 for discovering the radioactive elements polonium (Po) and radium (Ra). Polonium is currently one of the most toxic substances. Radium is also highly toxic, which can cause bone tumors and leukemia. She has made great contributions to the development of scientific theories and human cancer. However, in the end, Madame Curie was not exposed to radioactive materials for a long time He died of leukemia when he was 60 years old.
After that, more chemical research that benefited our lives began to develop by leaps and bounds.
We often hear about chemical fertilizers in agriculture, but we don’t know how long and tortuous the birth of them. Fritz Haber made mankind no longer passively rely on natural nitrogen fertilizers. He was the first scientist to produce ammonia from the air and accelerated the development of world agriculture.
Therefore, Fritz Haber also won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918.
Plastic can be in our sight all the time. But you may not know that the development of plastics from industry to agriculture, from heavy industry to light industry, is all due to the German scientist Otto Diels who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1950.
He and his apprentice Kurt Alder co-invented the diene synthesis reaction that shocked the entire chemical world.
Chemistry is a very broad subject . There are chemists who make semiconductors and solar cells; there are chemists who study materials science and try to use new materials to make artificial organs; and there are chemists who study the atmosphere and try to prevent the future crisis of global warming…
In the past Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, physicists and biologists have often appeared in the awards. The 2017 and 2018 Chemistry Prizes were won by three physicists and biologists. Therefore, the Chemistry Prize is often called the "Song Prize".
After the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to the three pioneers of cryo-electron microscopy, "Intellectuals" once commented :
This is a Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to physicists to reward them for helping biologists!
At that time, Deng Geng, Ph.D. of chemistry at Tsinghua University, also made a statistics . The proportion of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to the secondary discipline "polymer and biochemistry" reached 1/3.
Chemistry, biology, and physics have always been in harmony, but chemistry can be said to be "inclusive of all rivers."
Roger Kornberg, professor of structural biology at Stanford University, believes that chemistry is the queen of all sciences.
This year is no exception. Although it is a chemistry award, Carpentier and Dudner's breakthroughs in life sciences will bring more exploration space for our future disease cures.
Science has no boundaries. Contemporary science is developing in the direction of cross-convergence, which just proves the inclusiveness of chemistry.
In the world we live in, a large number of complex chemical reactions are taking place, and our increasingly better life may be the result of chemists’ painstaking explorations and a lifetime of hard work.
The research results awarded to the Nobel Prize this year may not be mentioned again next year, but the scientists who study them should be remembered by everyone.
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