Saturday, December 20, 2008

2008 - Top 10 Scientific Achievements

With the year 2008 wrapping up to an end, a list of top ten scientific breakthroughs of 2008 have been listed by the 'Science' Journal.

Topping the list is the research on cellular reprogramming, a method that produces "made-to-order" cell lines by reprogramming cells from ill patients.

"Our top choice, cellular reprogramming, opened a new field of biology almost overnight and holds out hope of life-saving medical advances," said deputy news editor Robert Coontz.

The other top nine achievements are :

Exoplanets : Using a special telescope techniques, for the first time the astronomers were able to directly observe planets orbiting other stars.

Expanding the catalog of cancer genes: Researchers have been able to sequence genes from two deadliest cancer cells, pancreatic cancer and glioblastoma. They turned up dozens of mutations that remove the brakes on cell division and send the cell down the path to cancer.

New mystery materials: An entirely new second family of high-temperature superconductors were discovered. These materials consisted of iron compounds instead of copper-and-oxygen-compounds.

Watching Proteins At work: It was a pleasant suprise for the Biochemists to watch proteins bind to their targets, switch a cell’s metabolic state and contribute to a tissue’s properties.

Toward renewable energy on demand: Inorder to store excess energy generated from part-time sources like wind and solar power, researchers have found a new promising tool using a cobalt-phosphorus catalyst.

The video embryo: In 2008, researchers observed in unprecedented detail the dance of cells in a developing embryo, recording and analyzing movies that trace the movements of the roughly 16,000 cells that make up the zebrafish embryo by the end of its first day of development.

"Good" fat, illuminated: Scientists have been able to morph "good" brown fat, which burns "bad" white fat to generate heat for the body, into muscle and vice versa. This has led to a new approach to treat obesity .

Calculating the weight of the World: Physicists have been successful in calculating the mass of proton and Neutron from the standard model which describes most of the visible universe’s particles and their interactions.

Faster, cheaper genome sequencing: Researchers have been able to report a sequencing technology that is much cheaper and speedier. The technique can be applied from woolly mammoths to human cancer patients.

The latest areas of interest for the year 2009 includes plants genomics, the elusive Higgs boson, speciation genes, ocean acidification, and neuroscience in court.


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