It's a bit sad though that Virginijus Šikšnys didn't get any credit for the discovery, because his paper sent over a month earlier was rejected by Cell.
Edit: The Nobel award paper writes this on his findings: https://www.nobelprize.org/uploads/2020/10/advanced-chemistr...
> Similar findings were also published in another report using the related CRISPR-Cas system in Streptococcus. As in Charpentier and Doudna’s work, this report also demonstrated that Cas9 cleaves within the protospacer, that cleavage specificity is directed by the crRNA sequence, and that the two nuclease domains within Cas9, each cleave one strand. However, the researchers did not notice the crucial importance of tracrRNA for sequence-specific cleavage of target DNA .
So I guess it's a bit more complicated than just having missed the publication.
It seems this method of performing groundbreaking research and science is horrifically detrimental to our collective progress. There's no reason for these groups to compete when they could collaborate.
Discussion of credit for CRISPR goes back years. The first controversy began with patents. It's been obvious to anyone following this that credit for it is difficult to attribute. Everyone agrees CRISPR is in need of recognition, and yet the major systems for doing so are still based on an erroneous "lone genius" paradigm (with modifications).
Someone really needs to change the game!
A better functioning science would be a huge boost for humanity as a whole.
I don't expect government to change how it operates, but maybe some billionaires can build alternative institutions.
For the first case, if molecular biologists make a lot of progress, then the molecular biology budget gets increased. Likewise if a discipline stagnates, its budget would be cut. This is probably how it already works to an extent. You still have the problem of a finite budget being shared between disciplines.
I think it's better to measure, and reward, collaboration directly rather than turn the gross knob of aggregate funding. First steps towards this would include publishing negative results, just so there's a data point. Then we reward such results insofar as they contribute to positive results (measured via citations maybe). Obviously positive results would be rewarded much more than negative results, but we shouldn't discount the efforts of the many researchers who diligently find dead ends and tell others to avoid them.
"Academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the stakes are so low." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayre%27s_law
2) Because scientific discovery often requires multiple competing approaches (because you don't know which one will work in advance), and top-down control tends to discourage that.
3) Because biomedical discovery is not an inherently directed process most of the time, and top-down control would risk missing out on important discoveries that only happened because we gave individual scientists the freedom to work on whatever they wanted (like bacterial immune systems).
Complaining about this state of affairs is like complaining that housecats aren't vegetarians yet. We have a new genetic manipulation technology that has already revolutionized molecular biology just a few years after it was discovered, and is already being investigated in clinical trials. Anyone who looks at this and says "you're doing it wrong" has a vastly distorted idea of what is actually possible in biomedical science, or any other line of work that requires actual humans to carry it out.
It's a straw man to say that a better system must be competition-free. Simply ameliorating the level of intensity and competition would go a long way. We need a more incremental seniority and funding system, where the difference between being able to do academic science and not to do so isn't defined by dramatic forks in the road. We have a vast separation-of-wealth in science funding and institutional power that must be addressed to get back to a healthier place.
Some human beings work that way.
Others share and cooperate freely with their peers.
“We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
― Anaïs Nin
All human achievement is fundamentally agonistic.
The really bewildering thing is how so many people who clawed their way to the top apparently forgot about the competition it took to get there.
Cell rejected an almost-nobel-worthy paper? Is this business as usual? Would they maybe have got the nobel price, if they had submitted to a lesser journal instead of Cell?
Can we make a rule of thumb, that in general you should submit your groundbreaking work to the most prestigious journal possible, but if you feel your work is of nobel caliber, then play it safe and submit to a mediocre journal to avoid the high publication threshold of the top level journals?
Usually major breakthroughs are rare and extraordinary and might seem too off the norm for major journals.
> Finally, Siksnys showed that the system could also be reconstituted in a second way—by combining purified His-tagged Cas9, in-vitro-transcribed tracrRNA and crRNA, and RNase III—and that both RNAs were essential for Cas9 to cut DNA. (They would ultimately drop the second reconstitution from their revised paper, but they reported all of the work in their published U.S. patent application filed in March 2012 [Siksnys et al., 2012]).
> Siksnys submitted his paper to Cell on April 6, 2012. Six days later, the journal rejected the paper without external review. (In hindsight, Cell’s editor agrees the paper turned out to be very important.) Siksnys condensed the manuscript and sent it on May 21 to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which published it online on September 4. Charpentier and Doudna’s paper fared better. Submitted to Science 2 months after Siksnys’s on June 8, it sailed through review and appeared online on June 28.
 -- https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(15)01705-5
Lander’s recent essay in Cell entitled “The Heroes of CRISPR” is his masterwork, at once so evil and yet so brilliant that I find it hard not to stand in awe even as I picture him cackling loudly in his Kendall Square lair, giant laser weapon behind him poised to destroy Berkeley if we don’t hand over our patents.
This paper is the latest entry in Lander’s decades long assault on the truth...
(Does Berkeley still have parking spots reserved for Nobel Laureates? They'll have to add a new one...)
"But bad luck with a journal made Šikšnys the forgotten man of CRISPR: Cell rejected his paper in April 2012 without sending it out for peer review. In contrast, when Doudna, Charpentier, and their colleagues showed that Cas9 could be programmed to cut DNA, their paper sped through the review process at Science and was published online in late June 2012. Šikšnys and his co-authors, meanwhile, had scrambled to find a more receptive journal and landed at Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which published their paper three months after the Berkeley team’s."
Francisco Juan Martínez Mojica (Elche, October 5, 1963), usually known as Francisco JM Mojica, is a Spanish scientist, molecular biologist, and microbiologist at the University of Alicante in Spain, known for his discovering research on the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats-CRISPR gene editing technique.
Exactly this! You cannot downplay his influence, at all. He also did speculate on plenty of those applications. Really weird to have him excluded.
→2012: G protein-coupled receptors
2013: modelling complex chemical systems
2014: super-resolved fluorescence microscopy
→2015: studies of DNA repair
2016: molecular machines
2017: cryo-electron microscopy for biomolecules
→2018: directed evolution of proteins
2019: lithium ion batteries
→2020: genome editing
EDIT: Looks like fastest Nobel prize since discovery was in 1987 (in Physics) - for high temperature super conductivity. Bednorz and Mueller won their Nobel within 2 years (!!!!!)
Ref - https://science.sciencemag.org/content/238/4826/481
Edit: here's the paper (2016) https://physics.aps.org/featured-article-pdf/10.1103/PhysRev...
It's so big it more than requires all of them, contributing in the ways they have (along with countless others, less heralded, at places like Berkeley or Broad).
Anyway, I'm happy Jennifer and Emmanuelle won over others and thinks this was the right call. The discovery of the idea was the most important part here, bs showing it in human cells (which wasn't that hard afterwards).
It is the key towards rejuvenation and preventing cancer, heizeimer and most diseases!
I can't find a good resource on why this is not currently possible and where can I track scientific incremental progress towards making this breakthrough a reality, which would then become the biggest technological progress of the 21 century!
Why aren't an enormous amount (and diluted over days or months) of viral vectors enough?
All of these steps are currently not possible:
* establish a perfect sequence for an individual
* find mutations non-destructively (ie cell survives)
* send a specific edit to a specific cell in live animal
* perform just that modification (see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Off-target_genome_editing)
Doudna, Charpentier, Zhang won joint prizes before for gene editing: Gairdner, Harvey, and Gabbay awards.
If Zhang was included in the Nobel prize, nobody would ask why he was included. But excluding definitely raises questions on why.