In celebration of February 11, International Day of Women and Girls in Science

In light of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science celebration, read here the winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020, Dr. Emmanuelle M. Charpentier and Dr. Jennifer A. Doudna, and their discovery of CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors.

The 2020 Chemistry Nobel prize was awarded to two women scientists, Emmanuelle M. Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna, for their breakthrough discovery of genetic scissors, a tool to edit the genome using the CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Considered as one of the most important scientific developments of this century, their method of editing an organism’s DNA allows advances in many scientific fields, ranging from Agriculture to Human Health and Medicine, thus raising hopes of eventually being used for correcting pathogenic changes in the DNA and curing genetic diseases. This Nobel prize was the first science prize shared by two women scientists exclusively.

Everything started from bacteria

The idea behind this novel gene editing approach is adapted from the bacteria’s defensive system. The natural CRISPR/Cas system found in bacteria can disable the virus by cutting the viral genome (DNA/RNA) during an infection, and insert them on their own genome for their protection in case of future attacks. The CRISPR/Cas9 system acts through specific parts of the DNA that guide towards the targeted region and are known as CRISPR; and Cas9, an enzyme that acts as scissors allowing specific and precise cuts to the targeted region. Through the work of Charpentier and Doudna, the CRISPR technology was modified and adapted into a system that could find and either edit, delete or add a specific part of DNA inside the cells – such as the part with the genetic mutation – thereby correcting it.

When two women join forces

The breakthrough discovery emerged from a collaboration of the two scientists. Charpentier initially discovered an unknown component of the CRISPR/Cas system in bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes. After this initial discovery, Charpentier collaborated with Doudna to develop a simple gene-editing tool based on Charpentier’s previous findings. The results were published in 2012 in the Journal of Science, in which they successfullygenerated a simpler, easier, more efficient and more cost-effective tool compared to previous genome-editing technologies. As such, these characteristics opened the doors to apply this technology in different areas of science, including Biotechnology and Medicine. The CRISPR system was also used in food industries to modify probiotic cultures (e.g. in yogurts) to protect them from viral infection, in agricultural industries to improve the yield of crops, and in mammalian cells to study gene function. In 2017 it was also used as part of a research study to remove a defective gene from donated sperm, for an ethically approved scientific research study in human embryos, to treat an inherited genetic heart disease known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Although the CRISPR/Cas9 is a strong tool for genome-editing that will benefit many aspects of science as well as humankind, there are also a few limitations and ethical controversies regarding this technique. For example, some off-target effects were observed using this technology, like the recent study that attempted to repair a gene associated with hereditary blindness from the paternal sperm, in which unintended changes were reported in a big section of embryonic DNA. Although this technology aims to enable beneficial gene modifications in clinical practice, current studies highlight the fact that genome-editing research should be strictly regulated and ethically approved.

The discovery of this technique undoubtedly unfolds many favourable possibilities. However, such a powerful tool should be researched, understood, and utilized carefully and thoughtfully, if we are to succeed in harvesting it to benefit our everyday lives. It remains to the future to see the advancements of this new technology, and how the CRISPR/Cas9 tool, which gave the Nobel prize to Emmanuelle M. Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna, can rewrite the code of life.

A few words about the two scientists

Dr. Emmanuelle Marie Charpentier is a French professor born in 1968, whose work focuses on Microbiology, Genetics, and Biochemistry. Her research interests during her PhD focused on identifying molecular mechanisms involved in antibiotic resistance. Since then, Charpentier’s post-doctoral research was focused on mammalian gene manipulation, and she is now the director of the Max Plank Unit for the Science of Pathogens. Dr. Charpentier has been recognized with several honours and awards over the years, including the Canada Gairdner International Award in 2016, as well as the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience in 2018. She was also elected as a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 2015, and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in 2018.

Dr. Jennifer Anne Doudna is an American biochemist born in 1964. She studied Chemistry in 1985 in California and then moved to Harvard University where she completed her PhD in Biochemistry. Her research focused on deducing the three-dimensional structure of RNA molecules in an attempt to understand their activity. Later in her career, she was interested in investigating the role of specific small RNAs and how they can regulate genetic information. Dr. Doudna also received many honors and awards such as the Gruber Prize in Genetics in 2015 and the Canada Gairdner International Award in 2016.

References used:

  1. "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020". The Nobel Prize. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  2. Abbott A. The quiet revolutionary: How the co-discovery of CRISPR explosively changed Emmanuelle Charpentier's life. Nature. 2016 Apr 28;532(7600):432-4. doi: 10.1038/532432a. PMID: 27121823.
  3. Cohen J (October 7, 2020). "CRISPR, the revolutionary genetic "scissors," honored by Chemistry Nobel"Sciencedoi:10.1126/science.abf0540
  4. Cong, L., Ran, F. A., Cox, D., Lin, S., Barretto, R., Habib, N., Hsu, P. D., Wu, X., Jiang, W., Marraffini, L. A., & Zhang, F. (2013). Multiplex genome engineering using CRISPR/Cas systems. Science (New York, N.Y.)339(6121), 819–823.
  5. Jinek M, Chylinski K, Fonfara I, Hauer M, Doudna JA, Charpentier E. A programmable dual-RNA-guided DNA endonuclease in adaptive bacterial immunity. Science. 2012 Aug 17;337(6096):816-21. doi: 10.1126/science.1225829. Epub 2012 Jun 28. PMID: 22745249; PMCID: PMC6286148.
  6. Ma H, Marti-Gutierrez N, Park SW, Wu J, Lee Y, Suzuki K, Koski A, Ji D, Hayama T, Ahmed R, Darby H, Van Dyken C, Li Y, Kang E, Park AR, Kim D, Kim ST, Gong J, Gu Y, Xu X, Battaglia D, Krieg SA, Lee DM, Wu DH, Wolf DP, Heitner SB, Belmonte JCI, Amato P, Kim JS, Kaul S, Mitalipov S. Correction of a pathogenic gene mutation in human embryos. Nature. 2017 Aug 24;548(7668):413-419. doi: 10.1038/nature23305. Epub 2017 Aug 2. PMID: 28783728.
  7. Mali P, Yang L, Esvelt KM, Aach J, Guell M, DiCarlo JE, Norville JE, Church GM. RNA-guided human genome engineering via Cas9. Science. 2013 Feb 15;339(6121):823-6. doi: 10.1126/science.1232033. Epub 2013 Jan 3. PMID: 23287722; PMCID: PMC3712628.
  8. Ran FA, Hsu PD, Wright J, Agarwala V, Scott DA, Zhang F. Genome engineering using the CRISPR-Cas9 system. Nat Protoc. 2013 Nov;8(11):2281-2308. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2013.143. Epub 2013 Oct 24. PMID: 24157548; PMCID: PMC3969860.
  9. Zuccaro MV, Xu J, Mitchell C, Marin D, Zimmerman R, Rana B, Weinstein E, King RT, Palmerola KL, Smith ME, Tsang SH, Goland R, Jasin M, Lobo R, Treff N, Egli D. Allele-Specific Chromosome Removal after Cas9 Cleavage in Human Embryos. Cell. 2020 Dec 10;183(6):1650-1664.e15. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.10.025. Epub 2020 Oct 29. PMID: 33125898.

View All Posts

NIPD Genetics - Privacy Policy

General Statement

NIPD Genetics is a leading, innovative biotechnology company that designs, develops, and provides a broad spectrum of healthcare services to its customers through its expansive portfolio of molecular and clinical laboratory tests in all disciplines.

At NIPD Genetics we are committed to protecting and respecting our customer’s privacy and personal information. Personal information or personal data means any information that identifies, relates to, describes, is capable of being associated with, or could be reasonably linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular individual, such as name, identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that individual.

NIPD Genetics collects and processes your personal information according to the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Cypriot law providing for the protection of natural persons with regards to the processing of personal data and for the free movement of such data (L. 125(I)/2018). The following principles lie at the heart of our approach to handling personal data:

NIPD Genetics has appointed a Data Protection Officer (DPO) who is responsible for overseeing and ensuring that personal information is collected and processed in line with these principles. The contact details of the Data Protection Officer (DPO) can be found below:

Email address:

Postal address: 31 Neas Engomis street, 2409 Engomi, Nicosia, Cyprus

Telephone number: + 357 22266888

By accessing or using our products or services, or by transmitting information to us by email or other electronic means, you accept our policies, procedures and practices described in this Privacy Policy. If you do not agree with our policies, procedures and practices as described, you can choose not to access or use our products or services or not to transmit personal information to us.

This Privacy Policy applies to NIPD Genetics facilities, its websites,, and their subdomains, that link to this privacy pol icy.


We collect and process several types of personal information from and about users of our websites and of our products and services, including:

Information about children

If you are under 18 years of age, do not register on our website or provide any information about yourself to us. We do not provide our products or services directly to children or proactively collect their personal information. Despite this prohibition, it is possible that we may sometimes be given information about children while handling samples from our customers in our clinical labs, or through use of our products and services by our customers and partners. If we become aware that we have inadvertently collected personal information from children under the age of 18, without parental consent, we will take the necessary steps to delete it as soon as possible in compliance with applicable laws.


Your personal information is collected by NIPD Genetics for the following purposes:

  1. To provide you with our products and services, respond to your inquiries or fulfill your requests and otherwise manage your relationship with us. The legal basis for processing is to meet the requirements of a contract, to comply with our legal obligations and/or because we have a legitimate interest in responding to requests for information about our products and services.
  2. To communicate with you about content and product offerings, newsletters and event invitations which are relevant to your interests and in line with your preferences. The legal basis for processing is the individual’s explicit consent prior to sending the information and managing individuals preferences.
  3. To process and respond to complaints. The legal basis for processing is to meet a legal obligation.
  4. To monitor and record information relating to the use of our products and services, including our website. The legal basis for processing is our legitimate interest in order to improve our products and services and our website for individuals.

To provide our products and services, NIPD Genetics may collect, receive and process biological samples to isolate and sequence DNA. NIPD Genetics may then store resulting genetic information and use genetic information to provide our products and services. In some cases, NIPD Genetics may provide interpretations of genetic information on behalf of its customers, including healthcare providers. This is only done pursuant to a written contract or a Sample Information Form with a patient’s informed consent and is subject to applicable legal and ethical safeguards.

This sensitive information described above is collected by NIPD Genetics for the following purposes:

  1. To provide support and maintenance services to customers who use our products and services – The legal basis for processing is to meet the requirements of a contract.
  2. To provide genotyping and sequencing services and analysis for our customers, including healthcare providers. The legal basis of this processing is to meet the requirements of a contract or as allowed in the Sample Information Form with a patient’s informed consent.
  3. To conduct genotyping and sequencing services and analysis for quality control, process and product development and improvements, and optimization in our labs to reflect quality improvements and advances in our technology. The legal basis for processing is the patient’s informed consent given through the Sample Information Form.

Transfer of Data

Your information, including personal data, may be transferred to - and maintained on - computers located outside your province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from your jurisdiction.

If you are located outside Cyprus and choose to provide information to us, please note that we transfer the data, including personal data, to Cyprus and process it there.

Your consent to this Privacy Policy followed by your submission of such information represents your agreement to that transfer.

NIPD Genetics will take all reasonable steps necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and no transfer of your personal information will take place to an organization or a country unless there are adequate controls in place including the security of your data and other personal information.

Disclosure of Data

NIPD Genetics complies with the General Data Protection Regulation and will not sell or trade your personal information.

NIPD Genetics may disclose your personal information in the good faith that such action is necessary:


Cookies are files with small amount of data which may include an anonymous unique identifiers. Cookies are sent to your browser when you visit a website and stored on your device. Tracking technologies used on the website are beacons, tags and scripts, to collect and track information and to improve and analyze our websites.

We use cookies and similar tracking technologies to track the activity on our websites and collect certain information. This includes information about the computer or device you are using, such as Internet protocol (IP) address, information about the browser type or version, the pages of our website that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, if you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our websites.

Examples of Cookies we may use:

Session Cookies. We use Session Cookies to operate our websites.

Preference Cookies. We use Preference Cookies to remember your preferences and various settings.

Security Cookies. We use Security Cookies for security purposes.

Visitor behavior cookies. To understand how visitors use and navigate the websites

Keyword cookies. To understand how visitors discover the websites.


We may use third-party Service Providers to monitor and analyze the use of our websites.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Google uses the data collected to track and monitor the use of our service. This data is shared with other Google services. Google may use the collected data to contextualize and personalize the ads of its own advertising network.

You can opt-out of having made your activity on the Service available to Google Analytics by installing the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. The add-on prevents the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js, analytics.js, and dc.js) from sharing information with Google Analytics about visits activity.

For more information on the privacy practices of Google, please visit the Google Privacy & Terms web page


We are committed to protecting the security of the information we collect, and we take reasonable physical, technical, and administrative safeguards such as data anonymization and encryption to help protect personal information from unauthorized or inappropriate access or use. It is your responsibility to protect the confidentiality of your passwords, and any other access features associated with your access or use of the website or our products and services, as well as to adhere to any applicable Terms of Use or other contract between us and you or your organization.


We may retain collected information even after you remove it from the website, our Services, or our Products, to comply with applicable law, to resolve disputes, to enforce any rights in connection with the website, our Services, or our Products, and to use as provided in this Privacy Policy, the Terms of Use, or an applicable contract between us and you or your organization. How long we retain specific personal information varies depending on the purpose for its use and we may delete or retain your personal information in accordance with applicable law.


We may employ third party companies and individuals to facilitate, maintain or operate our websites (“Service Providers”), to provide the websites on our behalf, to perform service-related services or to assist us in analyzing how our websites are used.

These third parties have access to your Personal Data only to perform these tasks on our behalf and are obligated not to disclose or use it for any other purpose.


Our websites may contain links to other sites that are not operated by us. If you click on a third-party link, you will be directed to that third party's site. We strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of every site you visit.

We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third-party sites or services.


This Privacy Policy may be updated from time to time. We will notify you of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page.

We will let you know via email and/or a prominent notice on our website, prior to the change becoming effective and update the “effective date” at the bottom of this Privacy Policy.

You are advised to review this Privacy Policy periodically for any changes. Changes to this Privacy Policy are effective when they are posted on this page.


NIPD Genetics ensures that it can respond immediately to requests that you make for the exercise of your legal rights in accordance with data protection laws. These rights are as follows:

You also have the right to lodge a complaint at any time to the Office of the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection.

We encourage you to contact us, should you wish to practice any of your legal rights or you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, by sending an email to NIPD Genetics’ Data Protection Officer at

Effective date: 18/06/2021

Ok got it!