This yr, Nobel Prizes continued to have fun ladies’s achievements: the Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded collectively to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna for creating a device for genomic modifying referred to as CRISPR-Cas9.
This builds on the 2018 chemistry prize which went to Frances Arnold for her software of genetic engineering to create new proteins to profit humanity. And in physics, Andrea Ghez obtained the award for the invention of a black gap within the centre of the Milky Manner. Canada’s personal Donna Strickland obtained the Nobel in 2018.
With the Nobel in literature going to Canada’s Alice Munro in 2013 and this yr’s award to American Louise Gluck, Canadians eagerly await even additional recognition for Margaret Atwood, a double winner of the Booker prize.
(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
A number of ladies in Canada have made Nobel-worthy discoveries within the space of life sciences. None could also be extra deserving than McGill College’s Brenda Milner for her discoveries on long-term reminiscence.
It’s not solely ladies in Canada whose contributions ought to be acknowledged with extra Nobel Prizes, there’s a robust case for males as effectively.
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This yr’s Nobel Prize in physiology or medication went to the College of Alberta’s Michael Houghton for his discovery of hepatitis C. In 2015, the Nobel Prize in physics went to Arthur McDonald at Queen’s College, for his discovery that neutrinos have mass.
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Canada aspires to even additional recognition for the invention of bacterial adaptive immunity by Sylvain Moineau at Laval College that was the muse for this yr’s Nobel Prize in chemistry.
Along with Rodolphe Barrangou at North Carolina State College and Philippe Horvath at Dupont Diet and Well being in France, they demonstrated that CRISPR-Cas9 is the adaptive immune system of micro organism.
Adaptive immunity has been lengthy understood in vertebrates because the acquisition of reminiscence of previous infections from a pathogen. Any subsequent an infection results in destruction of the pathogen.
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Barrangou, Horvath and Moineau’s curiosity was in yogurt, and particularly why micro organism used to make yogurt died from viral infections. Moineau is an skilled on bacterial viruses often called bacteriophages. Barrangou and Horvath are meals scientists. Collectively, they found that micro organism may resist viral infections by an adaptive immune system that had a reminiscence of previous bacteriophage infections and a mechanism to destroy any subsequent infections. These discoveries prolonged the idea of adaptive immunity from vertebrates to micro organism.
They found the reminiscence of previous viral infections in micro organism is CRISPR. In addition they found that any subsequent an infection could be destroyed by the bacterial enzyme Cas9. It’s these discoveries that enabled Charpentier and Douda to create the device equipment of CRISPR-Cas9 to edit genes in any organism.
By 2010, greater than 10 Nobel Prizes in physiology or medication had been given for discoveries of immune methods with three extra in 2011. Recognizing Barrangou, Horvath and Moineau with a Nobel Prize for his or her demonstration of adaptive immunity in micro organism is greater than a hope.
John Bergeron gratefully acknowledges Kathleen Dickson as co-author.
John Bergeron doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that might profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointment.