The French geneticist and microbiologist and her American counterpart were honored for the development of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology. These “DNA scissors” allow genetic material to be modified with extremely high precision in a genome-editing tool that considerably broadens treatment prospects, especially in the hope of curing genetic diseases.

The new technology has had a revolutionary impact on scientific research into health, agriculture and the environment.

This is the first time that a Nobel Prize in the field of Science has been awarded to a wholly female duo. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna became the sixth and seventh women to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry since 1901.

Until now, five French scientists had received this prestigious award. They include Marie Curie in 1911, her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie in 1935, Jean-Marie Lehn in 1987, Yves Chauvin in 2005 and Jean-Pierre Sauvage in 2016.