This year, the Nobel prize in chemistry was awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna for the development of a method for genome editing. However, the discovery has a significant Czech footprint thanks to Martin Jínek, a 41-year-old scientist from Třinec. The discovery of the so-called genetic scissors can have huge benefits for the whole mankind. The scissors, with their scientific name CRISPR-Cas9, are able to repair a faulty part of a genome. They cut the genome of an organism and while the genome repairs itself thanks to a self-repairing mechanism, a mutation is created in the damaged part that deletes the unwanted part of the genome. It was the Czech scientist that, together with his colleague, tested the method in laboratory conditions to see how the scissors work. With this mechanism, scientists were already able to repaired vision of a blind laboratory rat that suffered from a congenital degenerative retinal defect. The potential of the scissors is huge – from curing deadly diseases to modifying plants to increase their crop yield.
Prepared by the team of foreign office CzechTrade Brussels