The 2020 Chemistry Nobel prize was awarded yesterday to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna for the discovery of the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors.
The award, the first Nobel prize to be shared by two women. honours the basic research discovery of bacterial immunity by Francis Mójica (Universidad de Alicante, Spain) that later led to the development of a technology that allows researchers to change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision.
In plant science, genome editing enables scientists and breeders to modify plant genomes looking for increases in diversity, nutritional quality, disease resistance, stress tolerance and environmental sustainability. The use of CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors in crops, if free of the burden of the GM legislation to which they are currently tied in Europe, would tremendously help in the achievement a more sustainable agriculture that produces high yields using less chemicals and water.