And the Nobel Prize goes to…
CEO Commentary by Mike McMorris
I’ve never paid much attention to Nobel Prize winners until this year. The awarding of these prizes coincides with my reading of a book “The Codebreaker” billed as being about “Jennifer Doudna, gene editing and future of the human race”. Doudna won in 2020 for her work in discovering CRISPR. When she won, you could be forgiven for asking what that was about.
Two short years later, we all know that CRISPR is a technology that has the potential to change life, including human life, as we know it with gene editing. Perhaps the most fascinating thing to realize is just how incremental science moved toward CRISPR. Certainly, there was an “Aha!” moment, but that was built on the backs of a lot of work by many incredible people. And those people have a very impressive track record of collaboration.
There are six categories for Nobel Prizes: Physiology or Medicine; Physics; Chemistry; Literature; Peace and Economic Science. Winners announced so far this year are being recognized for work looking at ancient DNA and its teachings about the human genome we all carry; quantum technology; and “click chemistry” that could allow the rapid development of new drugs.
Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a Nobel Prize for Agriculture? Any names pop to mind as you think about that? There may well be worthy candidates, but it’s hard to think of the big “Aha!” moments. And, in reality, a lot of science flows from the human side to agriculture, including livestock.
We may have no idea where gene editing and quantum technologies will take us all, or the livestock industry.
Two things for sure: the robust future of the livestock sector will hinge on how we better collaborate as well as how well we pay attention to the human side of science.