FBBVA-16-biodiversidad-Mogica-2

Francisco Martínez Mojica

FRONTIERS OF KNOWLEDGE LAUREATE

Biology and Biomedicine

9th edition

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Biomedicine category is shared, in this ninth edition, by Emmanuelle Charpentier, Jennifer Doudna and Francisco Martínez Mojica, for creating the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing techniques that have triggered a revolution in biology, equipping laboratories with a powerful tool to understand gene function and biological systems, and as a way to treat disease.

CITATION (EXCERPT)

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Biomedicine goes, in this ninth edition, to Emmanuelle Charpentier, Jennifer Doudna and Francisco J. Martínez Mojica, for work that led to the revolution in biology permitted by CRISPR/Cas9 techniques.

Martínez Mojica identified CRISPR sequences in bacteria and postulated their role as an adaptive defense system against viruses; Charpentier and Doudna elucidated the molecular mechanism of CRISPR/Cas9 action and demonstrated its potential use as a universal tool for genome editing, paving the way for a multitude of applications in essentially any organism.

Genome editing involves the cutting of DNA at a designated location and its subsequent repair by the cell’s own machinery, which can be harnessed to make precise mutations, to add sequences or to substitute one sequence for another. The simplicity and versatility of the CRISPR/Cas9 system have led to its rapid adoption in laboratories throughout the world as a tool to understand gene function and biological systems, and as a way to treat disease.