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CRISPR Chemistry Win

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna have won this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work developing the CRISPR gene editing tool, Reuters reports.

"This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies, and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true," the Nobel committee says in a press release.

As BBC News reports, Charpentier, who now is the director of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, was studying Streptococcus pyogenes when she uncovered a new molecule dubbed tracrRNA that was part of the bacteria's CRISPR-Cas9 defense mechanism, which typically chops up the DNA of invading viruses. It adds that Charpentier then began a collaboration with Doudna, who is at the University of California, Berkeley, and the pair developed the bacteria system for wider use as a scientific tool.

"Strangely enough I was told a number of times [that I'd win], but when it happens you're very surprised and you feel that it's not real," Charpentier said during a press briefing, according to the Associated Press. "But obviously it's real, so I have to get used to it now."

As NPR notes, there has been an ongoing patent fight regarding CRISPR gene-editing approach. The University of California and the Broad Institute have been battling it out in court.

"It's a big field and there's a lot of good science being done in this field. But we have decided this year to award the prize to Charpentier and Doudna, and I can only say that," Claes Gustafsson, chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry says, according to NPR.