‘Rewriting the code of life’: Chemistry Nobel Prize awarded to 2 women for CRISPR ‘genetic scissors’ breakthrough
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to two women for their development of the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors, which has revolutionized modern science. They are the sixth and seventh women to win the prize for chemistry.
Following the announcement of the Nobel prizes for medicine and physics earlier this week, American Jennifer Doudna, 56, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, 52, from France were awarded the $1.1 million prize.
“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 Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement.
The pair join scientific luminaries such as Marie Curie, who won in 1911, and more recently, Frances Arnold, in 2018.
CRISPR is now synonymous with gene editing the world over and has led to major breakthroughs across numerous fields, most notably cancer research.
The CRISPR-Cas9 tool is often referred to as a genetic scissors which allows scientists to rewrite the code in the DNA of animals, plants microorganisms with unprecedented precision.
“This year’s prize is about rewriting the code of life,” said Goran Hansson, secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, as he announced the names of the laureates.
On Tuesday, Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez were announced as the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics for their groundbreaking research into supermassive black holes.
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Militant reportedly blows himself up at checkpoint in Turkish city near Syrian border (VIDEO)
One militant has been killed in a suicide bomb explosion in Iskenderun, and another is being hunted by Turkish security forces, authorities in Hatay province, just across the border from Syria, said.
A video posted on social media shows gunfire that preceded the explosion on what looks like an urban street in Iskenderun, which the Turkish media identified as Fanar Street in the city’s merchant district.
“Two militants were spotted at a checkpoint in Payas district. One of them blew himself up after clashing with police,” Hatay Governor Rahmi Dogan said in a statement on Monday evening. “The operation to capture the other terrorist is underway.”
Payas is a town just north of Iske
Mexico considers enlisting UN help to repatriate pre-Columbian artifacts from foreign museums
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico is mulling the idea of appealing to the United Nations for help in getting back native artifacts predating the arrival of European explorers that are held in museums abroad.
“I am seriously considering presenting an initiative in the United Nations for the return of these heritage pieces to their original villages,” Lopez Obrador said during a news conference on Monday.
Displaying the artifacts in European museums is an enduring relic of “colonialist policy,” argued the president, commonly known as AMLO.
Earlier this month, AMLO reached out to European museums with a request to borrow the pre-Hispanic artifacts, so they can be displayed next year at the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the destruction of the Aztec Empire by Spanish conquistadors. The Spaniards largely destroyed the empire’s capital, Tenochtitlan, after a siege in 1521, building Mexico City on the ruins and decimating the indigenous population.
The European institutions, however, were not quite eager to send the artifacts back to Mexico. While some museums have not responded to the request yet, others cited various technical reasons to turn it down. Vienna’s Weltmuseum, for instance, refused to part with the feather headdress said to have been worn by Aztec Emperor Moctezuma, insisting that the piece was “too fragile” and therefore cannot be moved.
In addition to seeking the ancient artifacts, Lopez Obrador has also spearheaded a movement calling for Europeans to apologize to the Indigenous peoples of the region. Earlier this month, he sent a letter to Pope Francis, urging the pontiff to apologize for the crimes during the conquest of the Americas in the 16th century.
“The Catholic Church, the Spanish monarchy and the Mexican government should make a public a
You are ‘not persecuted,’ Islamic group tells Muslims in France amid Erdogan’s call for French products boycott
Muslims in France have been told they are “not persecuted,” after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted French President Emmanuel Macron over his “problem with Islam.”
The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) sought to remind Muslims of their freedom in France, as it urged them to “defend the interest” of the country, amid a boycott campaign by Turkey.
It follows Erdogan’s call on Monday for Turks “never” to buy French products, in response to Macron’s toughened stance on radical Islam in the wake of a French teacher’s murder.
The French president had warned that the country would not “not give up the cartoons” and said “radical Islamists” were “stealing our future” as he mourned the death of teacher Samuel Paty who was beheaded outside Paris on October 16 by 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov.
The 47-year-old history teacher is understood to have shown his students caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, which many Muslims find offensive.
In a statement on Monday CFCM President Mohammed Moussaoui said: “France is a great country, Muslim citizens are not persecuted, they freely build their mosques and freely practice their religion.
We know that the promoters of these campaigns say they defend Islam but we call on them to be wise (…) All the campaigns to denigrate France are counterproductive and create division.”
Relations between NATO allies France and Turkey reached a particular low point over the weekend as Paris recalled its ambassador from Ankara on Saturday after Erdogan said Macron “needs mental health treatment” for his stance on Islam.
Other Muslim powers have joined a boycott on French products, including Kuwait and Qatar, while Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif hit out at the “opportunistic” use of free speech to target Muslims.
“Muslims are the primary victims of the ‘cult of hatred’ – empowered by colonial regimes & exported by their own clients,” he said on Monday.
In Europe, Erdogan’s comments on Macron’s health were condemned by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas as “un
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